Uttar Pradesh government forms panel to probe Mathura temple stampede

A day after two devotees died of suffocation due to overcrowding at Mathura‘s famous Banke Bihari temple on Janmashtami, the UP government formed a high-level committee to probe the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

The two- member committee includes retired IPS officer and former DGP of UP Sulkhan Singh who will be heading the committee, and divisional commissioner of Aligarh division Gaurav Dayal. The committee is required to conduct the spot inspection and carry out a district-level probe and submit its report to the administration within 15 days, an order signed by additional chief secretary (home) Awanish Awasthi said. Two people had died, and five admitted to hospital, after overcrowding led to suffocation and a stampede-like situation in the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, on Janmashtami. The incident happened post 2 am during the Mangla Aarti for which thousands of devotees had thronged the temple.

Visuals showed the temple premises packed beyond capacity and people gasping for air being helped out by the police. The chief minister has directed the home department to make efficient arrangements in temples during festivals to avoid such mishaps.

Mathura, Varanasi and Ayodhya constitute the three main cities in UP being developed for their potential for religious tourism considering the significance Hindu devotees associate with them.

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