Five people were killed and eleven others injured in a stampede that broke out during dual celebrations at the Baba Loknath Mandir — on the occasion of Janmashtami and Baba Lokenath’s birth anniversary — in Kachua village, under the North 24 Parganas district, late on Thursday night, police said.
A large crowd had gathered at the temple premises for the celebrations. Baba Lokenath Brahmachari was a Bengali saint who has a large following in West Bengal and Bangladesh.
According to police sources, the stampede broke out around 2.15 am. “There was a large crowd this year. It started raining heavily in the wee hours and people tried to take shelter under makeshift bamboo stalls on the approach road to the temple. The bamboo structures collapsed after heavy rain. The place was narrow and in the rush, a few people fell into the pond beside the temple and this created a confusion leading to a stampede-like situation there,” Chief Minister Banerjee told reporters.
“Fourteen people were injured. Police rescued them and took to the Health Camp… The situation was immediately brought under control,” said a senior police official.
According to the police, ten people who were critically injured were brought to Kolkata.
Banerjee, who visited the Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital (CNMC) and the SSKM hospital, where the injured were taken for treatment, announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for the critically injured and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries.
“The incident was very unfortunate and an investigation will follow. Around 10,000 people had gathered. Also, it was raining,” said state Food Minister Jyotipriya Mullick.