Woman dead, 17 devotees injured as ‘jagran’ stage collapses at Delhi’s Kalkaji temple

New Delhi: A woman died and 17 devotees were injured when a stage set up for a religious function, attended by singer B Praak, at the Kalkaji temple here collapsed on Sunday, police said.

The incident occurred around 12.30 am when an elevated wooden platform, supported by an iron frame, set up near the main stage for the families of the organisers and VIPs broke from the middle, Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast) Rajesh Deo said.

The platform could not bear the weight of the people sitting on it and collapsed, injuring those seated on it and close to it on the ground, he said, adding that no prior permission had been granted for the event.

Around 1,600 people attended the ‘jagran’ (religious function) which was organised at the Mahant Parisar of Kalkaji temple on Saturday, police said.

Singer B Praak performed at the jagran. According to sources, he had left the venue before the incident happened.

Praak shared a video message on his Instagram profile expressing grief over the tragic incident and wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.

The deceased has been identified as Tina, a resident of Tughlakabad extension, who is survived by her husband and three sons, police said.

According to police sources, the temple management had hired event planners to organise the jagran. No arrests have been made so far.

An FIR has been registered against the organisers and a probe is underway, police said.

A member of the Kalkaji temple management, Akarshan Bhardwaj, a priest and an advocate by profession, said, “There was no involvement of temple management in this programme. Those who organised the event are not from the management and they did not seek proper permission from police or temple management as well.” He claimed that the land where the jagran took place is already a “disputed land”.

“The incident is unfortunate too as one woman died and many others got injured. Many people thronged to the venue to listen to the singer and due to overcrowding on the stage, it collapsed,” Bhardwaj said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, “The accident that happened last night during a ”jagran” at the Kalkaji temple is tragic. A woman has died, may her soul rest in peace. I wish for the speedy recovery of the 17 injured people,” Kejriwal said in a post on ‘X’ in Hindi.

“I appeal to people of Delhi to take special care of safety standards in any kind of big event and make arrangements in such a way that no untoward incident happens,” he added.

The DCP said no prior permission had been granted for the event at the temple.

“However, sufficient staff was deployed to maintain law and order. There was a gathering of around 1,500 to 1,600 people at around 12.30 am on Sunday,” he said.

A witness, Varun, said there was a large gathering at the temple as singer B Praak was present.

“All of a sudden, the stage collapsed and those who were sitting close to the stage received injuries. The singer had left by that time,” he told PTI.

Among those who attended the function but returned home early because of the huge rush at the temple was 20-year-old Suman Kanojia from Chirag Delhi said, “I went there with a relative at around 10 pm and returned by 11 pm because it was so crowded. We thought of staying there a little longer but thankfully we didn’t.” “There was a huge crowd. There were temple volunteers around to manage the crowd but no policemen,” Kanojia claimed.

The injured were rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre, Safdarjung Hospital and Max hospitals by police and the public.

“The fire brigade was called to the spot. Seventeen people were stated to have been injured. A 45-year-old woman (Tina) was brought dead at the Max Hospital,” Deo said, adding that a Delhi Police crime team visited the spot later.

“Tina’s husband works as a vegetable seller. They have three sons. Her body has been sent for post-mortem,” the officer said.

The condition of all those injured is stated to be stable, even though some of them have sustained fractures, he added.

An FIR 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 IPC was registered against the organisers and further probe into the matter has been launched, the DCP said.

Director of Delhi Fire Service Atul Garg said his department was informed about the incident at 12.45 am.

Teams along with three fire tenders were rushed to the site. The kirtan stage had collapsed, injuring some people who were rushed to hospitals, he said.

Singer B Praak, who performed at the event, shared a video message on his Instagram story soon after the incident.

“I am very sad and disappointed. This is the first time I saw something like this happen at a place where I was performing… At Ma Kalkaji Mandir. I hope those who suffered injuries get well soon,” he said.