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Stampede at Ujjain Temple Amid VIP Visits, COVID Protocols Ignored

VIPs like Uma Bharti and CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan chose to visit the temple along with their families.

Updated
India
2 min read

Video Producer: Naman Shah

Visits from Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Bharatiya Janata Party's Uma Bharti to Ujjain's famous Mahakaleshwar Shiva Temple on Monday, 26 July, led to an uncontrollable crowd within the temple, which resulted in a stampede that injured several devotees, including women and children.

The incident took place at gate number four of the temple, when the security cordon gave way and people rushed in, falling over each other.

Meanwhile, some devotees even engaged in violence, a video of the incident shows even policemen being overpowered.

The Mahakaleshwar temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of lord Shiva and was open only to those who had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine or with a negative RT-PCR test report issued 48 hours prior to the visit, NDTV reported.

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The premises is open from 6 am to 8 pm. Up to 3,500 devotees are allowed to enter the premises during this time. There are seven time slots of two hours each, with 500 people allowed in each slot.

Temple officials said, VIPs like Uma Bharti and Chouhan, chose to visit the temple on Monday, along with their families. This made it all the worse for the devotees and the administration.

Chouhan had also tweeted a video link of his ‘pujan’.

Meanwhile, Ujjain District Collector Ashish Singh said that the incident was an exception, and social distancing would be ensured in the future.

Singh was quoted as saying, "We will sit and plan for next Monday. COVID protocol cannot be followed in the kind of free-for-all we had today. There were also too many people in one go. We will revise the plan. We will ensure social distancing”, NDTV reported.

The temple’s assistant administrator Moolchand Joonwal said, “Due to it being the first Monday of the holy month of Shravan, people were allowed to stand in queues for darshan apart from pre-booking. However, the crowd that turned up was much larger than what we expected," news agency PTI reported.

(With inputs from PTI and NDTV)

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