A devotee in his sixties died and at least 15 people fainted or were injured in a stampede at a temple of Hindu deity Shiva in Lakhisarai district of Bihar on Monday, the Hindustan Times reported.
Thousands of people had gathered at Indramaneshwar Temple in Ashokdham to offer their prayers on the last Monday of the holy Shravan month when the incident occurred. The local administration, however, denied reports of a stampede and claimed the elderly man died of cardiac arrest.
Witnesses countered this and said there was a stampede due to the lack of crowd management, and that the man died of suffocation.
“At one point of time, the crowd grew restless and many people began to jostle, leading to a stampede-like situation,” police officer Sanjay Kumar Singh told PTI. “The situation was, however, soon brought under control.”
Police said those who fainted were taken to the nearby medical camp but there was no proper medical team present.
“The crowd had started pouring at the temple premises from Sunday night,” an unidentified police official told Hindustan Times. “The queue stretched for over six kilometres. It took an average eight hours of wait for a pilgrim to get inside the temple.”
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Munger range) Manu Maharaaj, who reached the spot after the incident, said that the old devotee has not been identified so far. He added that security personnel were keeping a strict watch to regulate the heavy rush of devotees in the temple and the situation was under control.