Rajasthan temple stampede focused on Mehrangarh tragedy

CM Gehlot says that after talks with the religious leaders, a decision will be taken to make better arrangements for the pilgrims.

CM Gehlot says that after talks with the religious leaders, a decision will be taken to make better arrangements for the pilgrims.

A stampede at Khatu Shyam temple in Sikar district earlier this week, in which three women were killed, focused on a similar incident at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort in 2008, which claimed 216 lives. It is proposed to conduct a survey to find out the present status of the kin of the Mehrangarh victims.

Talks are underway with office-bearers of management committees of temples across Rajasthan as well as their priests and religious heads to develop strategies for managing the rush of devotees. Emphasis is being laid on ensuring strict compliance of guidelines for pedestrian corridors at religious places and handling of pilgrim rush.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, at a high-level meeting here, reviewed the security arrangements at religious places during fairs and festivals and said a decision would be taken to make better arrangements for the pilgrims and devotees after the completion of talks with the religious leaders.

The police have questioned the members of the Khatu Shyam Mandir Committee in connection with the stampede that took place on August 8. An FIR has been registered under section 304-A (death by negligence) on the complaint of Congress leader Ramdev Singh Khokhar. Despite thousands of pilgrims standing in line outside, the temple doors were closed after a dispute within the management committee.

Shri Gehlot has directed the Chief Secretary to constitute a committee, which will conduct a survey to get the current status of the families of those killed in the Mehrangarh stampede. Though the kin of the deceased were given cash compensation and other benefits after the incident, the committee will explore the possibility of extending more help to them.

“I have also asked the Jodhpur collector to conduct a survey. We will see what can be done for them,” Mr. Gehlot told reporters in Jodhpur. The Justice Jasraj Chopra Commission, appointed to investigate the cause of the tragedy and fix responsibility for the accident, submitted its report in 2011 after six extensions, but it was not made public.

The state government, in an affidavit filed in the Rajasthan High Court, referred to the recommendations of a cabinet sub-committee and said the commission’s findings cannot be disclosed, as they could have “serious repercussions” on the law and order front. . It has been said in the affidavit that it will not be in the public interest to present the report of the commission.