Ten pilgrims were killed and more than 18 injured in a stampede at a temple on a hill in Madhya Pradesh's Satna district on Monday. Only seven people were identified till the filing of this report. While two of the deceased were identified as Hakki Vishwakarma (28) of Panna and Savita Kori (35) of Satna in Madhya Pradesh, the rest five, all residents of Uttar Pradesh, were identified as Asha Nishad (25), Chandrapal Nishad (65), Shivdas Gupta (70) of Fatehpur, Babulal Jatav (75) of Jhansi and Kushdehi Katheria (70) of Kanpur.
The stampede occurred when a rope set up to control over two lakh devotees encircling the Kamtanath Pahad temple hill gave way. Devotees normally encircle the temple by rolling on the ground for the parikrama on Somavati Amavasya, a Hindu religious day.
Satna superintendent of police KC Jain said the incident occurred when a woman came in contact with the fire in the temple's altar and screamed out in pain. This sparked a rumour of an electric current running all over the place and hundreds of panic-stricken people stumbled upon one another.
"There was no stampede-like situation," he said. "Mostly women and elderly people died and were injured in the incident as they fell down due to heavy rush. The administration controlled the situation in time, otherwise the accident could have turned into a major stampede like in Datia last year."
Around 115 devotees were crushed to death or drowned on a bridge near another temple in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district last October, some 700 km from Monday's accident site.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.
The CM has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to next of the kin of deceased and Rs. 50,000 each to the injured. The CM has also directed that all medical facilities be provided to the injured. Public relations minister Rajendra Shukla also expressed grief over the incident.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav too announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to next of the kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to the injured. Commissioner Chitrakoot Dham, Murali Dhar Dubey who visited the site with DIG Mohit Agarwal said seven persons have been identified and five of them are from Uttar Pradesh. A team of officers has been deputed at the site to help in the relief and rescue operations.