Eleven devotees died, and around 50 were injured during a stampede in the early hours of Monday at the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple located in the Deoghar district in Jharkhand. It all happened around 5 am when doors of the temple were opened for the pilgrims to offer prayers. The passionate devotees were waiting in a six-kilometer long queue since night pushed each other to get in. The injured people were immediately taken to the nearby hospital. The devotees had gathered as a part of their month-long religious Hindu festival.
While some people opined that lack of effective safety measures was the reason behind this catastrophe, another reveal that the excitement of pilgrims to get into the temple led to this chaos. In the month of Shravan, the Kanwarias along with other devotees offer prayers at the local Shiva temples. The Kanwarias take holy water from the Ganga River and walk around 100 km barefoot to pour the holy water at the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple. Over thousands and thousands of people garner during this festival. Monday is usually preferred by the Kanwarias to visit the temple.
Raghubar Das, the chief minister of Jharkhand, expressed deep sorrow for this unfortunate incident and announced compensation of Rs 2,00,000 for the family of the people who died and Rs 50,000 for the family of the injured people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted about this tragedy. “Pained at loss of lives due to the stampede in Jharkhand. My thoughts & prayers are with the families of the deceased in this hour of grief. I pray that the injured recover quickly,” Modi tweeted. He even spoke to Raghubar Das about this accident.
Stampede has been a common calamity during any religious festival in India. In July this year, nearly 29 people died, and around 60 people were injured in a stampede during a Hindu bathing festival in Andhra Pradesh. Also, during the Rath Yatra in Puri, Odisha, two women died, and around ten devotees were injured because of over-crowding.