Two people have been killed and more than 15 injured in a stampede in the annual Jagannatha Rath Yatra festival in Puri, Odisha. More than 15 lakh devotees are attending the pious Vaisnava festival this year in the state, a correspondent told Jantakareporter.com.
The event this time is coinciding with Navakalevar (re-birth ceremony) of the 12th century Puri Jagannatha deities, during which new idols of the gods are carved. The government was therefore expecting a crowd in excess of 30 lakh this year and had made special arrangements to accommodate visitors in the town.
Leading to the yatra day, the Puri district hospital was upgraded and over a dozen temporary health centres had been opened to deal with a possible outbreak of epidemics.
In the past, there have been intelligence inputs about the famous Puri temple being on a terrorist radar. A security blanket with 164 platoons of police, 12 superintendents of police (SP) and 30 ASP officers has been deployed in the area this year as part of special arrangements.
The coast guard in the state of Odisha has also been put on alert and regular monitoring is being done to prevent any sort of infiltration.