Three women were killed and four injured in a stampede outside a temple here early on Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condoled the deaths and wished those injured a speedy recovery.
Long queues were seen outside the Khatu Shyam ji Temple as devotees had gathered on the occasion of ‘Gyaras’, an auspicious day as per Hindu calendar.
As soon as the temple opened at around 4.30 am, the devotees flocked for ‘darshan’.
In one of the queues, a 63-year-old woman with a history of heart ailment collapsed. Two women behind her, too, fell down due to the rush. They died in the stampede, Superintendent of Police K Rashtradeep said.
SHO at Khatu Shyam ji police station Riya Chaudhary identified the 63-year-old deceased as Shanti Devi. Panic set as she collapsed, the official said.
Devi’s brother Mangat Ram told reporters, “As soon as the temple was opened for prayers, stampede occurred. Somehow, we managed to escape. My sister was old, so she got stuck and died. Others from my family sustained injuries.”
The family had arrived from Hisar in Haryana.
Devi’s daughter Poonam said some other family members, including girls, too fell in the stampede but they managed to escape.
“We were all standing together in a queue when we felt a sudden push from behind and all of us fell. My mother died in the incident,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Expressing his anguish, Modi tweeted, “Saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at the Khatu Shyamji Temple complex in Sikar, Rajasthan. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray that those who are injured recover at the earliest.” Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, too, expressed his grief.
“Death of three women due to stampede in Khatu Shyam ji in Sikar is very sad and unfortunate. My deepest condolences are with the bereaved family members,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, BJP state president Satish Poonia and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje were among the other leaders who condoled the deaths.
Poonia demanded the state government to release compensation for the kin of those killed and injured.
Raje demanded an investigation into the incident and action against the guilty so that such incidents do not recur.
CCTV footage is being examined for better clarity on the incident, the SP said, adding efforts are being made to identify the two other deceased.