Two devotees were killed and several others were injured because of overcrowding in a Mathura temple during Janmashtami celebrations late on Friday, August 19, 2022, night.
Eyewitnesses said the incident happened in the iconic Banke Bihari Mandir in Vrindavan town of the district when a sea of devotees turned up to attend the traditional mangalaaarti, which is performed once a year.
Police sources said the deceased have been identified as Nirmala Devi of Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ram Prasad Vishwakarma of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.
The incident has led to a question mark on the arrangement as most of the senior district officials were present at the temple premises. The Banke Bihari temple is known to attract devotees in lakhs during the Janmashtami celebrations, leading to overcrowding not only in the temple premises but also the narrow lanes that lead to the temple.
Abhishek Yadav, SSP, Mathura told reporters that the incident happened when some devotees passed out because of suffocation caused by overcrowding. “It led to commotion in which two persons died and several others were injured.”
However, some sevadars (volunteer) at the temple alleged the officials remained busy in making way for the VIPs and their families which led to stampede like situation at gates 1 and 4 of the temple.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who was in Mathura and Vrindavan earlier during the day to participate in celebrations expressed grief over the incident and directed officials to take necessary steps for the treatment of the injured.