India: temple stampede kills 10 pilgrims

At least 10 people have been killed in a stampede at a Hindu festival in central India, local officials say. Rope barriers set up to contain thousands of Hindu pilgrims during parikrama of Kamadgiri hill gave way on Monday morning, resulting in a stampede in which six women were killed and 30 injured, said police in Satna district. Thousands of devotees had gathered near the temple to celebrate a festival called the Somvati Amavasya. Local officials said it is still not clear what sparked the stampede.

Police official Pawan Srivastava told BBC Hindi that the crush could have been triggered by a live electricity wire which snapped and fell on pilgrims. People broke through rope barriers, triggering the stampede. A senior police official quoted by The Times of India newspaper said some people fell to the ground and this triggered panic. Hindu festivals in India are notorious for deadly stampedes.

Last October, some 91 pilgrims, mostly women and children, were killed in a stampede at a Hindu festival near the Ratangarh temple in Madhya Pradesh state. In 2011 more than 100 died at a festival in the southern state of Kerala. Inside Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, more than 220 people were killed in 2008 in a stampede at the Chamunda Devi Hindu temple.

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