Holi celebrations: 14 suffer injuries in fire at Ujjain Mahakal temple

Fire broke out in sanctum sanctorum of the temple; magisterial probe ordered

Ujjain Mahakal temple fire Screengrab of devotees rushed out of Mahakal temple in Ujjain after fire broke out in the temple | ANI

As many as 14 persons including priests suffered injuries after a fire broke out in the sanctum sanctorum of Ujjain’s Mahakal temple during the early hours of Monday. The health condition of nine persons are reportedly critical and the injured have been rushed to the district hospital and Aurobindo Hospital in Indore for treatment.

According to authorities, the incident happened around 5.50am, while bhasma aarti was being performed at the temple. Authorities said the fire broke out after gulaal (coloured powder), thrown inside the sanctum sanctorum fell over burning camphor in puja thali and chemicals present in gulaal are believed to have caused the blaze.

Ujjain District Collector Neeraj Kumar Singh said the situation was brought under control immediately and the injured were rushed to hospital. “The blaze took place in the 'garbha griha' (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple at around 5.50am. Fourteen priests suffered burn injuries. Some are being treated in the Ujjain district hospital, while eight have sought treatment in Indore,” Singh said. He added a magisterial probe has been ordered and it will be conducted by Zila Panchayat CEO Mrinal Meena and Additional Collector Anukool Jain. The inquiry report will be submitted in three days, Singh said. He added situation was under control and darshan has resumed at the temple.

Mahakal temple priest Ashish Sharma told ANI, "The traditional Holi celebrations were being held in Mahakal Temple. The fire spread in 'garbhagriha' due to 'gulaal'. Priests of the temple got injured. We have rushed them to the hospital."

Ujjain Superintendent of Police Pradeep Sharma told Hindustan Times, “One of the injured informed said that someone threw gulaal on priest Sanjeev from behind while he was performing the aarti. The gulaal fell on the lamp. It is believed that there was some chemical in the gulaal which caused the fire.”

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister tweeted, “The fire incident at the 'garbhagriha' of Mahakal Temple during bhasma aarti is unfortunate. I have been in touch with the administration since morning. Everything is under control. I pray to Baba Mahakal for the quick recovery of all injured."

Home Minister Amit Shah spoke with the chief minister regarding the fire. "I spoke with CM Mohan Yadav and collected information regarding the fire incident. The local administration is making all help and treatment available to the injured.”

-with agency inputs.

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