Four die after visit to Kancheepuram temple

No stampede at shrine, insists District Collector

July 19, 2019 01:27 am | Updated 01:27 am IST - CHENNAI

A patient being attended to at the temple on Thursday.

A patient being attended to at the temple on Thursday.

Four persons died in separate incidents on Thursday after visiting the Sri Devarajaswamy temple in Kancheepuram for a darshan of Athi Varadar.

District Collector K. Ponniah refuted reports that the deaths occured as a result of a stampede. “They died at different places and during different times,” he said.

Only one person, Natarajan, 61, from Triplicane, died near the Vasantha Mandapam inside the temple. He was under treatment for aortic stenosis. His body, along with those of the other victims — Gangalakshmi, 61, of Guntur, Anandavel, 47, of Salem and Narayani, 55, of Avadi — were sent to Kancheepuram General Hospital.

Sources in the Health Department said that Narayani, who had just visited the temple, fell on the road near Theradi and died on the spot. Anandavel, with a history of epileptic seizures, collapsed on the road. He was taken to the Kancheepuram GH and then to Chengalpattu GH where he died.

Gangalakshmi, reportedly a patient of hypertension and diabetes, came to one of the health camps outside the temple and died there, an official said. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami offered a solatium of ₹1 lakh each to the families of those who died.

In a statement in the Assembly, he said about 1.7 lakh devotees had visited the temple up to 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Mr. Ponniah said that NSS volunteers were being pressed into service for crowd control during the weekends.

"We will ask them to help during weekdays too. We have provided space for people to sit down if they want," he added.

The temple witnessed exceptional crowds on Thursday since it happened to be Shravanam , the birth star of Vishnu.

Many devotees said that there was no space to sit inside the temple.

"I went with my family but even after waiting for four hours, I could not reach the temple for darshan . I returned since we became too tired and dehydrated by that time," said T. Sadagopan of Pattabiram.

One devotee said that towards afternoon, vehicles had queued up as far as Walajahpet, which is several kilometres away from Kancheepuram.

"Crowd management is poor. The policemen posted are arrogant and reply in a harsh tone when devotees ask them something. If a person enters a barricade from the eastern gopuram side he cannot come out midway even if necessary," said S. Ramya of Ashok Nagar.

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