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4 die of suffocation in Kancheepuram temple crowd (Lead)

Thursday - July 18, 2019 10:08 pm , Category : INDIA
Chennai, July 18 (IANS) Tragedy struck as the crowd waited to have glimpse of the Athi Varadar deity in Tamil Nadu's Kancheepuram on Thursday as four persons, including two women, died due to suffocation owing to the huge mass of people, police said.
According to Kancheepuram Police there were a huge number of devotees resulting in pushing and jostling.
Four persons standing in the queue fainted due to exhaustion and were taken to the government hospital where they died, police said.
Some people were treated at the temporary medical camps set up near the temple.
Since early morning on Thursday large number of devotees converged at Kancheepuram to pray to Athi Varadar who gives 'darshan' to people once in 40 years.
The roads in Kancheepuram were crowded and there were traffic jams on roads leading to the temple town.
The 12-foot idol of Athi Varadar (made of fig tree wood), lying in a silver casket underwater in the temple tank for the past 40 years, was taken out on June 28.
Devotees were allowed to have 'darshan' for 48 days from July 1 to August 17 at the Devarajaswami temple, popularly known as Varadaraja Perumal Temple.
The last time the Athi Varadar was raised out of the water was on July 2, 1979. Normally a person can have 'darshan' of Athi Varadar once or twice in a lifetime.
Since July 1 about 20 lakh people from different parts of the country had 'darshan' of Athi Varadar.
DMK President M.K. Stalin urged the state government to make necessary safety and sanitary arrangements as more number of people are expected to come to Kancheepuram.
Meanwhile the state government has announced a solatium of Rs 1 lakh to the families of the dead.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said some of the dead were already suffering from high blood pressure and were under medication.
Palaniswami said on Thursday about 1.75 lakh people came to Kancheepuram for 'darshan'. He said the government did not expect such a huge number of people coming to Kancheepuram.

--IANS vj/kr