Junagadh (Gujarat), Feb.20 (ANI): Rescue teams continue to help move the injured to hospital after Sunday night's stampede at a fair near the Bhavnath Temple, which has claimed between six to eight lives and injured 12.
The mishap took place after two vehicles blocked the temple fair entrance, triggering panic among devotees.
Tens of thousands of people had assembled at the event, which would conclude on the occasion of Mahashivsratri festival on Monday.
The toll consists of women, children and men. The injured, some of them are said to be serious, have been rushed to nearby hospitals.
Bapu Bharti, a priest at the temple said that this was an unfortunate incident and urged people to cooperate with police personnel.
"This incident happened due to the sudden stampede among the people. Six people lost their lives and may lord Shiva grant them salvation. I would like to make a humble appeal to the devotees who have come here from across Gujarat state and others who are still on way to completely cooperate with police," said Bharti.
Police personnel and ambulance service faced various difficulties as they found it hard to reach the accident because of the massive crowd that led to delay in rescue operations.
As per media reports, the situation is under control. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a probe into the matter.
Condemning the incident, several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders announced that they would not take part in the temple festivities as a mark of respect to the victims.
Maha Shivaratri or Mahashivratri falls during the dark half of the month of Magh. A day of strict fasting accompanied by Lord Shiva's worship and vigil precedes the festival, which is celebrated with great rejoicing and feasting. It is regarded as an extremely auspicious festival.
The festival celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati, and holds immense importance for followers of Hinduism. (ANI)
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pradip khimani junagadh gujarat 09426717000February 21, 2012 at 2:12 PM