More than 100 killed in stampede in Indian temple

Other News Materials 30 September 2008 11:28 (UTC +04:00)

More than a 100 worshippers were killed in a stampede at a Hindu temple in India's north-western state of Rajasthan on Tuesday, media reports said.

The stampede occurred at the Chamunda temple atop a hill in the Mehrangarh area near Jodhpur city, 350 kilometres west of the state capital Jaipur, reported dpa.

Senior Rajasthan government officials told the PTI news agency that a total of 103 people had died and 29 were injured in the stampede. Most of the casualties were brought to two state-run hospitals in the Jodhpur city.

The injured were being treated at the hospitals and officials said the toll could rise as several devotees were listed in "serious" condition.

A huge crowd of 20,000 devotees had gathered on the occasion of the nine-day Navratri festival which began Tuesday and the stampede occurred as people tried to rush in to beat the crowd, the NDTV network reported.

The road approaching the temple was narrow and there were not enough police and security posted at the 15th-century temple, which is dedicated to Chamunda Devi, a form of goddess Durga.

Television footage showed dozens of bodies lying on the footpath as frantic people tried to revive relatives, picking up the injured and rushing them to ambulances.

Some local media reported that the panic was set off by rumours circulating in the crowds that explosives had been planted near the temple.

"There were at least 10,000 people when the incident occurred at around 5:30 am. I suddenly saw people running and falling on each other. There was complete chaos," Sharat, a witness, told IANS news agency.

In August, a stampede near a mountaintop Hindu temple in northern Himachal Pradesh state killed 145 people. In January 2005, more than 260 Hindu pilgrims, including several children, were killed in a stampede in a temple in western Maharashtra state.