New Delhi: A tragic accident occurred at Kalkaji temple in New Delhi on Saturday night when a stage collapsed during a religious event called Mata Jagran. The event featured a performance by famous singer B Praak, who was among the VIP guests on the stage. The stage, which was made of wood and iron frame, could not withstand the weight of the people on it and tilted downwards, crushing some of the devotees below.
One woman, who was about 45 years old, died on the spot and was taken to Max Hospital by two people in an auto. Her identity is still unknown. Seventeen other people, including five children, were injured and rushed to AIIMS Trauma Center, Safdarjung Hospital, and Max Hospital by ambulance. The injured have been identified as Kamala Devi (60), Sheela Mittal (81), Sunita (5), Harsh (21), Alka Verma (33), Aarti Verma (18), Rishita (17), Manu Devi (32) and nine others.
How did it happen?
According to the police, the Mata Jagran was organized in the Mahant Parisar of Kalkaji Temple, without any official permission. However, adequate personnel were deployed to maintain law and order. The event attracted a crowd of around 1500-1600 people, who came to witness the singer’s performance and pay their respects to the goddess.
The stage collapse happened at around 12:30 am when B Praak was singing and the devotees were clapping and dancing. Some of the excited fans climbed on the stage to get closer to the singer, adding to the pressure on the structure. The stage suddenly gave way and fell on the people sitting below, causing panic and chaos.
What was the response?
As soon as the news of the accident reached the authorities, three fire brigade vehicles were sent to the spot for relief and rescue. Fire Director Atul Garg confirmed that the fire control room had received the information around 12:47 am. He said that the firemen had to cut through the iron frame and the wooden planks to free the trapped people.
The police also reached the spot and cordoned off the area. They said that the crime team visited the spot and collected evidence. A case has been registered against the organizers under sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 304A (causing death by negligence), and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The police said that they would question the singer and the organizers about the incident and the arrangements.
What was the reaction?
Singer B Praak, who escaped unhurt, expressed grief over the accident and prayed for the speedy recovery of all the injured. He also posted a video message on his social media accounts, apologizing to his fans and saying that he was deeply saddened by the tragedy. He said that he was unaware of the stage’s condition and that he had no role in organizing the event. He urged his fans to stay safe and follow the Covid-19 guidelines.
The temple authorities also expressed their condolences to the victims and their families. They said that they had no involvement in the Mata Jagran and that it was organized by a private group. They said that they would cooperate with the police in the investigation and take steps to prevent such incidents in the future.
The accident has also sparked outrage among the public and the media, who have questioned the safety and security measures at the temple and the event. They have also criticized the organizers for flouting the COVID-19 norms and putting the lives of the people at risk. They have demanded strict action against the culprits and compensation for the victims.