Three injured in mini-stampede to see ‘world’s largest Durga idol’

At least three people were injured in a mini stampede on Sunday as lakhs of people visited a a marquee in south Kolkata that boasted of having installed the world’s tallest idol of goddess Durga, forcing police to temporarily close down the place to visitors.

The Deshapriya park marquee, which had drawn over one lakh visitors on Saturday, attracted an equally huge crowd on Sunday, stalling traffic movement in south Kolkata.

The Durga puja – the biggest festival in this part of the country – begins from Monday, but the marquees in the city had been drawing revellers after they were thrown open to the people this week itself.

“Lot of people had assembled here. The planning that the organisers had made was not sufficient. At this moment, we have stopped visit to the marquee. There are other marquees where people can go,” said city Police Commissioner Surojit Kar Purokayastha, who took the metro train to reach the spot because of the traffic snarl.

A spokesman for the organisers said two-three people had been injured. “Our pandal was overcrowded, which resulted in this situation. Two-three visitors were injured, either due to a piece of bamboo giving way, or suffered some bruises. One of the injured had to be rushed to hospital.”

Purokayastha, who visited the marquee with all other top officials of city police, said: “Our topmost priority is to ensure there is no untoward incident or accident. A very bad situation had been created there. We have all come here. We are reviewing the situation. We will tackle the situation along with the organisers.

“We won’t allow anything which in any way compromises the security of the common people.”

The Deshapriya Park marquee had seen a huge build up for months, with advertisements in the media and in billboards claiming it had set up the tallest Durga idol in the world.

The idol, made of cement and fibre glass, has been placed outside the pandal with the sky as the canopy because of its huge size. The organisers have even written to the Guinness World Records claiming it it should feature in the annual as the world’s tallest Durga idol.

The idol was inaugurated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday. The organisers have claimed at various times that the idol was between 80 feet and 100 feet.