Nearly 56 devotees, including several children, who attempted to walk on fire as part of a ritual at a temple for Goddess Marammadevi near Tumkur suffered burns after plastic bags dumped in the coal pit got stuck to their feet.
At least five persons were reported to have suffered serious burns because they fell down in the fire pit.
“The incident occurred at around 4.45 am at the Hettenahalli village located 12 km from the district headquarters. Around 56 people were injured when they tried walking in the pit measuring 40-by-8 feet near the Maramma temple,” Additional Superintendent of Police (Tumkur District) G B Manjunath said.
The village was celebrating the festival of Marammadevi and the fire walk was organized as part of the festivities. More than thousand devotees had gathered to participate in the festival that began on Monday night.
The police said there were five rows of people numbering over 300 that had lined up to do the fire walk on Tuesday morning.
“Some of the devotees threw plastic bags in the pit during the walk. The plastic melted in the heat and when the first set of walkers came in contact with the melted plastic they fell down and got badly injured. The others who were close behind could not move forward or backward because there was a huge queue. More than 50 people were injured in the melee as a result,” said Circle Inspector of Tumkur Rural, P Ravi, who was at the spot at the time of the incident.
All the injured persons were rescued and shifted to the Tumkur district hospital.