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At Varanasi, disaster waiting to happen

india Updated: Mar 05, 2010 00:44 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
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The stampede on Thursday at a hermitage in Pratapgarh district has brought to the fore questions on crowd management at the temples of Varanasi, Mathura and Vrindavan.

Most of the temples, including the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, are in congested lanes where evacuation in case of a stampede is likely to be very difficult.

There are four entry points to the temple. On special occasions such as Shivratri, special safety arrangements are made.

At the Durga temple, there is only a single entry and exit point and during the Navratra festival, more than 100,000 people visit the place. This increases the chances of a stampede.

More than 50,000 people visit the Sankat Mochan temple every Tuesday and Saturday but there are no special arrangements made by the administration to manage the crowd.

“We’ll ensure no such incidents (like stampede) take place anywhere in Varanasi,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (Varanasi) D.K. Thakur said.

Mathura and Vrindavan draw a large number of devotees each year. But security arrangements are not encouraging.

A woman died a couple of months ago in a stampede that occurred at the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan.

A similar incident took place when a woman fainted because of the heavy crowd at a temple in Mathura.