Six killed in stampede during Puri chariot festival (Lead)July 4th, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS
Puri (Orissa), July 4 (IANS) At least six people were killed and 10 injured in a stampede during the annual Rath Yatra (chariot festival) here Friday, officials said. Director General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda said: “Six people died in the stampede. Policemen have rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.”
A district police official said the incident occurred when devotees tried to get close to goddess Subhadra’s chariot, which was being taken across Puri, about 65 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
Tirlochan Baral, chief medical officer (Puri district), told IANS that three men and three women had died while 10 injured people had been admitted in the government hospital here.
However, a local television channel said the number of injured was over 50 and about 10 had sustained serious wounds. Many of those in critical condition have been moved to Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medial College Hospital at Cuttack, about 26 km from Bhubaneswar.
About a million devotees gathered here to see the idols of god Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra being carried in chariots from the 12th century Jagannath temple to another shrine called Gundicha in the same town.
The state government has ordered a probe and announced compensation of Rs.100,000 to the families of those killed. The government has also announced that it will bear the expenses of the treatment of those injured.