MP: 14 injured in Mahakal Temple fire; CM announces assistance of Rs 1 lakh each, free treatment

02:37 PM Mar 25, 2024 | PTI |

Fourteen priests, including ‘sevaks’ (assistants), were injured in a fire that broke out in the Mahakal Temple in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh on Monday during ‘bhasma aarti’, an official said.


The blaze took place in the ‘garbha griha’ (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple at 5:50am, Ujjain Collector Neeraj Kumar Singh said.

”Fourteen priests suffered burn injuries. Some are being treated in the district hospital here, while eight have sought treatment in Indore. A magisterial probe has been ordered. It will be conducted by Zila Panchayat CEO Mrinal Meena and Additional Collector Anukool Jain and a report will be submitted in three days,” he said.

”The fire started as ‘gulal’ (coloured powder used during rituals) fell on the puja thali that contained burning ‘kapoor’ (camphor). It later spread on the floor and turned into a blaze,” he said.

In a post on social media platform X, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, ”The incident that happened in Mahakal temple of Ujjain is very painful. I wish for the speedy recovery of all the devotees injured in this incident. The local administration is engaged in every possible help to the victims under the supervision of the state government.” Talking to reporters in Bhopal, Chief Minister Mohan Yadav said clothes are put on the silver walls of the garbha griha to protect it from Holi colours, and it is not known whether the fire started after the ‘aarti thali’ fell when ‘gulaal’ was thrown on it or whether the ‘gulal’ reacted to some chemical.


Yadav, speaking to reporters after arriving in Ujjain, said the injured will be given assistance of Rs 1 lakh each as well as the best available treatment for free.

The administration will take all efforts to ensure such an incident does not take place again, the CM added.

”Our first priority is to provide best treatment to the injured. There is no casualty by the grace of Mahakal. Doctors are facing a problem in finding burn injuries due to (Holi) colour on the skin,” Yadav said.

The incident has been captured by CCTV cameras installed in the temple, an official said.

”The fire started after gulal was thrown as part of a ritual on the occasion of Holi. It caused burn injuries to priests, who were rushed to the district hospital,” priest Ashish told reporters.

A large number of people, including some VVIPs, were present during the incident in the Nandi Hall in front of the sanctum sanctorum, but no injuries were reported among the devotees, officials said.

Meanwhile Dr Vinod Bhandari, president of Indore-based Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS), told PTI eight of the injured have been admitted at his facility.

”The eight persons have suffered 35 to 40 percent burn injuries, and the condition of one of them is serious,” he said.

State Urban Development and Housing Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya reached SAIMS and inquired about the condition of the injured persons.

In a post on X, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said he had spoken to the MP CM over the incident and said the local administration was ensuring all relief to the injured.


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