A stampede at Kamtanath temple in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh on Monday morning killed 10 pilgrims, including five women, and left over 60 people injured.
Thousands of pilgrims had gathered at the temple located on a hillock on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya when the incident happened on the narrow road leading to the temple.
Pilgrims either walk or prostrate or roll while doing the parikrama (circumambulation). A majority of the pilgrims circumambulate the temple on foot and keep distance so that their feet don’t touch those lying prostrate. Quoting initial reports, state Home Minister Babulal Gaur said those walking on foot appeared to have trampled those who were lying prostrate.
An inquiry has been ordered to know the exact circumstances causing the stampede. The injured were admitted to hospitals in Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. After few hours, the authorities cleared the site and allowed the pilgrimage to resume.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the relative of those killed in the Kamtanath temple tragedy and Rs 50,000 to those critically injured.
The stampede follows a major tragedy at Ratangarh in Datia district October last year when over 110 devotees died in a stampede on a bridge on Sindh river leading to Ratangarh Mata temple. An administrative action like the transfer of a few officials was followed by a judicial inquiry into the Ratangarh mishap.
However, the Satna administration appeared to have learnt little from that tragedy despite knowing that the number of devotees on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya goes into lakhs.
DDC vice-chairperson Ashish Khetan said, “As of today he does not hold the charge anymore.”