At least 89 killed in Dussehra festival stampede at Indian Hindu temple
A stampede at a bridge leading to a remote Hindu temple in central India on Sunday killed at least 89 people and injured more than 100, police said.
Nearly 150,000 devotees gathered to celebrate the holy festival of Dussehra at the Ratangarh temple, in a forest outside the town of Datia, 390 km (240 miles) north of the Madhya Pradesh state capital, Bhopal.
But pilgrims panicked when the railings broke on a bridge that led to the temple, triggering the stampede. Some devotees were crushed to death under the feet of fellow worshippers, others drowned after falling or jumping into the river Sindh.
“The death toll has shot up to 89 now and nearly 100 people are injured. Relief work tends to slow down after the sunset but will start in full swing from tomorrow morning,” Dilip Arya, a deputy inspector general of police, told Reuters.
Local media said the police used batons to control the crowd, prompting many people to panic. A team of 20 doctors was been sent to help, the media said.
Pilgrims have died due to stampedes on previous occasions.
In February this year, a stampede killed at least 36 Hindu pilgrims, who were part of the world’s largest religious festival which attracted some 30 million people.
– by Girish Sharma in Bhopal, India