Puri : A 70-year-old man was reportedly trampled to death as lakhs of pilgrims jostled to have a glimpse of the Rath Yatra in Puri on Sunday. The incident happened at the same place where a woman had been killed in a stampede during last year’s festival.
The victim, identified by cops as Sudhakar Swain, fell on the ground after being pushed by the swelling crowd near a bylane. “I tried to pick him up from the ground but couldn’t help him. The crowd was restless.” said Sambhav Mohanty, an eyewitness.
DGP Manmohan Praharaj said, ” Therebwas no stampede. We had ensured a proper crowd control mechanism. Doctors told us that Swain died of a heart attack. There was no injury on his body.” District officials said Swain, from Jagatsinghpur, had come alone.
The shrine administration said, it would decide whether Swain would be entitled to the recently launched insurance scheme for Rath Yatra pilgrims. “We will inquire into the claim if and when his family members approach us. His family will receive the insurance money if he died of an accident,” PRO of the temple Laxmidhar Pujapanda said.
This year temple administration announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the family of pilgrims who die of an accident on the temple premises. Many pilgrims had to be taken to hospitals due to high humidity and the sultry weather.