Cassian Baliarsingh

Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri on Wednesday witnessed a huge rush on the auspicious occasion of Sankranti that led to a stampede-like situation.

A few devotees were reportedly injured in a stampede-like situation at the shrine in Puri. However, there have been no reports of any casualties or major mishaps.

According to sources, the Srimandir witnessed a massive rush of devotees due to Sankranti. As usual, the devotees were allowed to enter the Srimandir through the east and west gates.

However, due to the heavy rush, there was a stampede-like situation near the ‘Paschima Dwar’. A few of the devotees reportedly suffered breathlessness in the incident, reports said.

While narrating her nightmarish experience, a female devotee said, “There were lakhs of devotees. There was police deployment. There were servitors as well. But nothing was systematic. If the system is in perfect order, things will go on smoothly even if there are lakhs of people. Had there been separate queues for ladies and gents, such a situation wouldn’t have occurred. The rush was so huge that we weren’t able to have a darshan of the deities.”

A male devotee also narrated his experience saying, “At the main entrance of the temple where the stampede-like situation happened, I saw two young persons; they may be policemen or guards as they were in uniform, gossiping sitting on the steps, as if completely oblivious of what was going on. When I asked them to do something to control the crowd, one of them said nothing to worry as nothing serious will happen in Jagannath Dham. If this is the case, what is the use of keeping them?”

On the other hand, Puri SP K. V. Singh refuted the allegation of a stampede-like situation at the temple. “There was no stampede at the temple. I would like to request people not to believe in rumours.  What happened was a woman fell down due to some reason. Devotees and policemen came to her rescue. She was fit and fine and did not require hospitalisation.”

(Reported by Madhusudan Mishra, OTV)