Rajkot: Toll in the stampede at
Mahashivratri fair at Bhavnath temple in Junagadh district
today rose to seven even as senior police officials said
breakdown of two state transport buses led to the incident.
Premji Makwana, who was injured in the melee last evening
at the famous Shiva temple at the foothills of Girnar, 150 km
from here, succumbed to his injuries at Junagadh Civil
Hospital, official sources said.
The mishap occurred on the narrow Panjanka bridge that
connects Junagadh city to Bhavnath temple when two state
transport buses coming from opposite directions broke down
while crossing the bridge.
"This blocked the entire traffic as well as movement of
people which created panic among them causing the stampede,"
Junagadh SP Dipankar Trivedi said.
The state government has constituted a high-level
committee, headed by Additional Chief Secretary Varun Maria,
to probe the incident.
Nearly nine lakh pilgrims had converged at Bhavnath temple
last evening at the time of the tragedy, district officials
In the wake of the stampede and in a bid to prevent
recurrence of such incidents, the district administration has
put in place many measures.
"To avoid any such incident, we have banned all vehicular
traffic in the area today and people are allowed to go on foot
only," Trivedi said, adding the directions would be in place
till the fair is over.
Meanwhile, Junagadh resident Suresh Banjaria, who had gone
to Bhavnath temple yesterday, said, "People of the city have
been telling the municipal corporation to build a wider bridge
in place of Panjanaka bridge but it has not been done.