At least 150 people have been killed and scores
of others injured in a massive stampede at a Hindu temple in the western Indian
state, Rajasthan. From New Delhi, Anjana Pasricha reports Tuesday's stampede is
the latest in a series of similar incidents that have taken place in different
parts of the country.
The thousands of devotees who had gathered at
Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, at dawn Tuesday to offer prayers
were hoping to start a nine-day Hindu festival on an auspicious note.
But, for many families, the festival called "Navratri" turned into
tragedy, as hundreds of worshippers were crushed in a huge stampede. Many were
killed, others were injured.
Television footage showed a child crying for
his father and devotees and relatives carrying the dead and the injured to
Officials say the stampede occurred after some people
slipped on a steep path leading to the temple. The temple is located inside a
historic 15th Century hilltop fort.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand
Kataria says there was a massive crowd at the site. He says the pressure of the
crowd on top of the hill caused people waiting below on the sloping path, to
slip. He says this led to a massive crush, as people kept falling, one after
Police Inspector General of Rajasthan Rajiv Dasoth says
authorities worked quickly to help the devotees.
"Within one hour, from
that hill, very steep hill, all the injured have been evacuated to different
hospitals," he said. "And, they are being treated and they are being taken care
Indian authorities have been criticized for poor crowd control at
religious places, which attract massive crowds during festivals. In the past,
similar stampedes at temples have claimed hundreds of lives.
temple stampedes have been reported from different parts of the country, this
year. The most deadly occurred last month, when a stampede outside a temple -
also located on a hilltop - led to the death of 145 pilgrims in Himachal Pradesh