September 30, 2008

40 Pilgrims Killed in Stampede

At least 40 people were killed and more than 100 injured today when thousands of pilgrims stampeded at a Hindu temple in the historic town of Jodhpur in western India.

Severe overcrowding apparently caused the crush as more than 12,000 people gathered at the temple to celebrate a Hindu festival, Jodhpur Police Supt Malini Agarwal said.

Television footage showed dozens of bodies lying on the pavement, while nearby frantic people tried to revive unconscious devotees, slapping their faces and pressing on their chests.

Others dragged people by their arms and legs, running down a ramp that leads to the temple inside the massive 15th century Mehrangarh fort that overlooks the town.

One child sat on the ground next to the body of a woman, rubbing her forehead and crying for her mother.

Thousands had gathered to mark the first day of Navratra, a nine day Hindu festival to honour the Mother Goddess.

Deadly stampedes are a relatively common occurrence at temples in India where large crowds congregate.

(c) 2008 Evening Mail; Birmingham (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.