Puri: Amid the heavy rush of devotees, who had gathered to have a glimpse of Lord Jagannath at the 12th century shrine, to seek the blessings of the deities on the New Year Day, a devotee named P Shankar Rao died after falling ill in the long queue in front of the Lion’s Gate of Shri Jagannath temple.

Shankar Rao (65) of IRC village, Bhubaneswar, fainted while proceeding in between the bamboo baricade put up on the Grand Road. He was immediately taken to the district headquarters hospital where doctors declared him dead, hospital sources said adding the cause of the death was being ascertained.

In another incident, a person named Rajendra Goud of Cuttack suffered serious head injury after being beaten allegedly by the police who were controlling crowd on Grand Road. He is undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital.

In another incident, three students of a Bhubaneswar-based engineering college were rescued from drowning in the sea. All the three were rushed to the district headquarters hospital. As the condition of one of them deteriorated, he was shifted to SCB Medical College Hospital at Cuttack.

As a huge number of devotees had gathered to seek the blessing of Lord Jagannath on New Year, the district administration made arrangements including putting up baricades and deployment of police personnel.

However, there was no cover atop the long barricades nor was any emergency exit point which led to the incident.