At least one person was killed and 20 others were injured, four of them seriously, in a stampede in Odisha’s Cuttack district on Saturday, police said.
The incident took place as a large number of people congregated on Badamba-Gopinathpur T-Bridge on the occasion of Makar Mela, a police officer said.
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Badamba-Narsinghpur MLA and former minister Debi Prasad Mishra confirmed that one woman, identified as 45-year-old Anjana Swain, died in the incident, while four seriously injured people were admitted to SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack city.
Mishra said other injured persons were admitted to a community health centre (CHC) in Badamba.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased.
“The injured people will get free treatment and I wish their speedy recovery,” Patnaik said in a statement.
Athagarh Sub-collector Hemanta Kumar Swain said the incident took place due to a sudden increase in the number of devotees, including women and children, in the afternoon to visit a fair organised on the occasion and also to pay obeisance to Lord Singhanath.
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The district administration said the congregation was massive as people were visiting the temple after a gap of two years due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Devotees from Cuttack, Khordha, Puri, Angul, Dhenkanal, Boudh and Nayagarh districts had come to the temple in large numbers, the sub-collector said.