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11 killed, over 30 injured in temple stampede in Jharkhand

Thousands of people gather during a Hindu religious bathing fest

Deogarh (Jharkhand):  At least 11 people, including a woman, were killed and over 30 injured today in a stampede near a temple in the district where thousands of devotees had lined up before dawn for special prayers during the auspicious Shravan month.

“Ten men and a woman died in the stampede as the devotees tried to jump queue at around 4 AM,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Deogarh, Amit Kumar said.

The incident took place near the Baidyanath temple at Belabagan More in Deogarh, about 350 kilometres from state capital Ranchi.

All the injured were being treated at a nearby hospital, Civil Surgeon Diwakar Kamath said.

Today is the second Monday of the auspicious Shravan month when Degoarh is generally teeming with tens of thousands of devotees who flock to temples. Devotees of Lord Shiva offer special prayers at temples on Mondays during this period.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Raghubar Das expressed grief over the loss of lives.

“Pained at loss of lives due to the stampede in Jharkhand. My thoughts & prayers are with the families of the deceased in this hour of grief,” the PM said on twitter.

Modi spoke to Das who apprised him about the incident.

The Chief Minister announced a compensation of Rs two lakh to the kin of those killedin the incident.

The injured would be given Rs 50,000, an official statement said.

A high-level committee headed by state Home Secretary N N Pandey will probe the incident.

Pandey, Additional Director General of Police S N Pradhan and other officials were supervising the relief operation, the statement said.

“At about at 4 AM, a rumour spread that the temple doors were being opened. Some of the waiting devotees tried to jump queue which led to the stampede,” Pradhan said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said additional forces were being sent to the state for crowd control.

“There is a huge rush of devotees. They asked for additional forces. So I have told the Home Secretary to send Rapid Action Force there,” he said.

BJP MP from Godda Nishikant Dubey said steps will be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

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