Six Persons, including four women and a child were killed and sixteen others injured in a stampede on the hill top shrine of Kanaka Durga in the coastal city of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday morning.
Police said the incident occurred in the early hours on the ghat road on Indrakiladri hill when thousands of devotees were proceeding to the Sree Kanaka Durga Malleswara Swamy temple to offer puja on the last day of Bhavani deeksha. More than two lakh devotees throng the temple during the occasion as against 5,000 to 6,000 pilgrims on a normal day.
While five persons died on the spot, one succumbed to injuries at the government hospital at Vijayawada. Sham, a friend of Rambabu, one of the victims told mediapersons that the spot where the accident took place was too narrow and when a large number of people tried to rush through, it led to a stampede. There were neither barricades nor policemen on the spot to guide the crowd, he said.
“The temple administration should have taken enough precaution as lakhs of people visit the temple during the auspicious occasion every year,” said a relative of Ramulamma, another victim.
Vijawayada city police commissioner CV Anand along with senior police officials visited the accident spot. He said the stampede occurred as there was only one way for pilgrims to enter and exit. The police had advised the temple authorities to make elaborate arrangements to streamline the crowd so as to prevent such accidents but there was no follow up on their part, he added. Krishna district Collector Navin Mittal has ordered a magisterial enquiry into the incident to be conducted by Joint Collector Suresh Kumar.
Meanwhile, the state government has directed the Endowment department, which controls the temple, to take action against those found guilty.