Indian shrine stampede kills scores

At least 145 worshippers feared dead in tragedy at temple in northern hill state.

    The stampede took place during a religious festival at the Naina Devi temple [EPA]

    DS Minhas, the state's additional director-general of police, had earlier put the toll at 123.

    SR Mardi, the state police chief, said rescue workers used a cable car at the temple to help evacuate the injured from the mountain top.

    Al Jazeera's Todd Baer, reporting from New Delhi, said that in addition to the fatalities, more than 300 people were injured in Sunday's incident.

    "The dead include many women and children," he said.

    Baer reported quoting the police that "the stampede happened after too many pilgrims tried to squeeze into a small area, they were heading up a mountain to the temple when a railing on the path collapsed.

    "Rescue workers used a cable at the temple to help evacuate the injured from the mountain top, they have been rushed to area hospitals.

    Baer said on August 6, 2000, a similar accident occurred, but only one person died.

    "But clearly this incident is much more serious," he said.

    Six people died in a similar accident at a popular Hindu festival in July in the eastern state of Orissa, where about a million people had gathered in the town of Puri for an annual celebration.

    In March, nine people were killed and many more injured at a religious gathering in central India when a railing broke at the temple premises, leading to a stampede among 100,000 devotees.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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