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Several dead in central India temple stampede

At least ten pilgrims killed on holy hill in Madhya Pradesh in latest in string of deadly accidents at religious events.

Last updated: 25 Aug 2014 07:15
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A stampede at a Hindu temple in central India has killed at least 10 people and injured scores more, according to local police and media. 

Hundreds of pilgrims were gathering at a holy hill in the Chitrakoot area of Madhya Pradesh state when some tripped and fell, sparking panic, police official Vinay Kumar Singh told the AFP news agency on Monday.

"A stampede broke out very early this morning, around 5:30 or so, where five women and five men have died," Singh said, adding, "the place is still very chaotic and crowded, but police and ambulances have reached the spot".

Some of the pilgrims who were walking fell on the ground during the circumambulation and this triggered panic.

Pawan Srivastava, police inspector general

The stampede appeared to have occurred when some of the Hindu devotees were rolling on the ground as part of rituals performed on the hill for the full moon day of Somvati Amavasya to honour Lord Shiva, reports said.
 
"In this pose, the devotees circumabulate ... The relatives and friends of the devotees help them to roll around," police inspector general Pawan Srivastava told the Times of India.

"Some of the pilgrims who were walking fell on the ground during the circumambulation and this triggered panic," Srivastava said.

Ropes set up to control the crowds gave way, with about 60 people also injured in the stampede, the official said.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan offered 200,000 rupees, equivalent to $3,300, to the families of those killed.

India has a long history of deadly stampedes at religious festivals, as large numbers of people pack into congested areas, often with few safety regulations in place.

Monday's accident comes after about 115 devotees were crushed to death or drowned on a bridge near another Hindu temple in Madhya Pradesh last October.

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