New Delhi, Jan 28 (PTI) A 45-year-old woman died and 17 people were injured when a stage set up for a religious function at the Kalkaji temple here collapsed in the early hours of Sunday, police said.
The tragic incident occurred around 12.30 am, they said. The identity of the deceased is yet to be identified.
According to police, a 'jagran' (religious function) was organised at the Mahant Parishar of Kalkaji temple on Saturday and around 1,600 people attended it.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condoled the death of the woman and wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.
"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.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast) Rajesh Deo 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.
According to the police, an elevated wooden platform supported by an iron frame was set up near the main stage for the families of the organisers and VIPs.
Around 12.30 am, the elevated platform broke right from the middle as it 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, the DCP said.
An eye-witness, Varun, said there was a large gathering at the temple as singer B Praak was present. "All of 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.
Another person who was present at the temple said he heard a loud noise and saw people running out.
"It was a stampede-like situation. Everyone was running for their lives. I was outside the temple when I got to know that the stage collapsed and some people received injuries," he added.
Among those who had gone to attend the function but returned home early because of the huge rush at the temple, 20-year-old Suman Kanojia of 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 added.
Pushpa Singh, 38, of Shahpur Jat too counted her lucky stars. "I went there with another person around 9 pm and it was overcrowded. Even the parking was full of people. We left around 10.30 pm. I am just thanking my luck that we left before it happened." All those injured in the stage collapse were rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre and the Safdarjung 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 was brought dead at the MAX hospital," Deo said, adding that a Delhi Police crime team visited the spot later.
The condition of all those injured is stated to be stable, he added.
An FIR under sections 337, 304A and 188 of the IPC was registered against the organisers and further probe into the matter has been launched, the DCP said.
Director of Delhi Fire Services 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. PTI BM SLB ABU IJT IJT