High-level probe ordered into Junagadh stampede



Rajkot: The Gujarat government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the stampede at the Bhavnath Temple's annual Mahashivratri fair in Junagadh, which left six pilgrims dead and over 40 injured.

"A high-level committee, headed by Additional Chief Secretary Varun Maria has been set up to probe the stampede incident," a senior officer at the Junagadh District Collector's office said.

The state government and the Junagadh Municipal Corporation (JMC) have also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 1 lakh each to the family of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to the injured.

Also, police have made elaborate security arrangements to ensure that today's Shivratri festival passes of peacefully. IG (Rajkot) Pravin Sinha has been deputed to oversee the rescue operations on the spot.

In view of the mishap, Akhil Bhartiya Sadhu Samaj, the main organisers of the fair have decided to call off their famous procession and said that only a symbolic procession would be taken out instead.

Six persons, including three women and two children, were killed while over 40 persons were injured in the stampede last night during the Mahashivratri fair at the narrow Panjnaka bridge, the lone entrance to the famous Shiva temple, 150 kms from here.

The stampede occurred following panic after the brakes of a four-wheeler at the fair venue apparently failed, police said.

The popular fair, which will conclude today, is organised every year at the temple and nearly 10 lakh people are expected to attend it this time, officials added.

PTI