At Least 145 Hindu Pilgrims Die in Temple Stampede

Naina Devi Temple

Naina Devi Temple


At Least 145 Hindu Pilgrims Die in Temple Stampede
At least 145 Hindu pilgrims attending an annual festival have been killed in a stampede in Northern India. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, many of the victims are women and children.

Officials say the tragedy occurred when a metal railing along a narrow mountain path leading to Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh state collapsed under the weight of tens of thousands of devotees who had come to attend a religious festival on Sunday.

The temple is situated on a hilltop in the state’s Bilaspur district.

Officials say the collapse of the railing triggered panic among pilgrims, and a stampede ensued as people tried to flee to safety. There are many women and children among the victims, who fell down and were trampled.

A senior police official in Bilaspur, Bimal Gupta, says bad weather worsened the situation.

“At the same time there was heavy rain. People wanted to save themselves,” Gupta said. “In the midst you know the stampede occurred. But the administration, the local police and Home Guards, they immediately started the rescue work within 15 minutes.”

Police used a cable car to ferry down the dead and wounded from the hilltop. Helicopters aided the rescue efforts. Scores of injured people have been rushed to hospitals. As news of the stampede spread, relatives flocked in to identify the victims.

The temple was packed at the time of the tragedy . It was the second day of the nine-day long festival called Shavran Navratras, where tens of thousands gather every year to pray to a Hindu goddess. Many of the worshippers were from the neighboring state of Punjab.

Stampedes at religious festivals have occurred previously in India, where massive crowds gather on such occasions – sometimes in remote towns where the local administration is not equipped to handle large crowds. In 2005, more than 250 pilgrims were killed in a stampede near a temple in Western India.

VOA News (Reference)

CHRONOLOGY – Some of the world’s worst stampedes
REUTERS – Indian authorities on Monday ordered a probe into a stampede outside a Hindu temple in northern India which killed at least 145 pilgrims.

Following is a short chronology of some of the worst stampedes in the last 20 years.

March 1988 – In Kathmandu, 70 fans are killed after a stampede towards locked exits in a hailstorm at Nepal’s national soccer stadium — the country’s worst civilian disaster.

July 1990 – 1,426 pilgrims are crushed to death inside al-Muaissem tunnel near Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The accident occurs on Eid al-Adha (The Feast of Sacrifice), Islam’s most important feast at the end of the annual Haj pilgrimage.

May 1994 – In Saudi Arabia, a stampede near Jamarat Bridge kills 270 where pilgrims hurl stones at piles of rocks symbolising the devil.

April 1998 – One hundred and nineteen Muslim pilgrims are crushed to death at the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

May 2001 – In Ghana, 126 people are killed after a stampede at Accra’s main soccer stadium when police fire teargas at rioting fans in one of Africa’s worst soccer disasters.

February 2004 – A stampede kills 251 Muslim pilgrims in Saudi Arabia near Jamarat Bridge during the ritual stoning of the devil at the annual Haj pilgrimage.

January 2005 – At least 265 Hindu pilgrims, including several women and children, are killed near a remote temple in India’s Maharashtra state.

August 2005 – At least 1,005 people die in Iraq when Shi’ites stampede off a bridge over the Tigris river in Baghdad panicked by rumours of a suicide bomber in the crowd.

January 2006 – Three hundred and sixty-two Muslim pilgrims are crushed to death at the eastern entrance of Mena’s Jamarat Bridge when pilgrims jostled to perform the stoning ritual between noon and sunset.

February 2006 – Seventy-one people are killed at a stadium in Manila as they scrambled to get into a popular Philippine television game show.

September 2006 – At least 51 people are killed in a Yemeni stadium where President Ali Abdullah Saleh was holding a pre-election rally in the southern province of Ibb.

August 2008 – Rumours of a landslide triggers a stampede by pilgrims in India at the Naina Devi temple, in Bilaspur district, in Himachal Pradesh. At least 145 people were killed and more than 100 people injured. (Reference

Pray For Victims And Their Families

Pray For Victims And Their Families

Cultural Program by Sathya Sai Devotees From Kuwait

Allah

Allah

Cultural Program by Sathya Sai Devotees From Kuwait
Faith and Surrender

Sathya Sai Baba devotees from Kuwait presented a skit entitled ‘Faith & Surrender’, a drama based on the power of Prayer. There is a devout Muslim searching a good match for his daughter. In his daily interactions with the shopkeeper of the local grocery store, he discovers the power of prayer. The episode narrated here is of a very pious but poor lady who begs for food at the store. When the shopkeeper mockingly tells her that he would give her provisions equivalent to the weight of her shopping list, she takes the name of Allah and places the list on the scales. The scales get “tipped” so heavily in favour of the one taking the Lord’s name that no amount of provisions seems to move the weighing balance! With the Lord’s name, nothing is impossible. And so with the Lord’s name on his lips, the devout Muslim is able to find a good match for his daughter. That lad is also devout and hardworking and helps a music teacher, Rammohan, to run his music classes.

Some years after their wedding, on the holy day of Eid Ul-Fitr, a begger comes to their house and asks for alms. The protagonist argues with his wife that charity comes above family and his wife reluctantly parts with the food. He convinces her that Allah will take care of them and that she should not loose her faith. Before he could complete his sentence, a guest appears with lot of sweets for all of them to celebrate Eid and the wife regrets that she let her motherly anxiety overcome her faith.. Finally, there were simple dances and songs in praise of Bhagawan.

As the programme concluded, Bhagawan called a little girl (one of the children in the story) and materialised a gold chain for her and put it lovingly around her neck. He also blessed them posing for group photographs. Bhagawan then permitted them to sing bhajans. Very creatively and nicely, they sang Bhajans, each threaded into the other. After the singing went on for about 15 minutes, Bhagawan blessed the prasadam to be distributed and then retired after receiving Aarthi.

Reference (With Pictures)

RadioSai: This evening, devotees from Kuwait presented a musical drama and a bhajan medley. They were seated in the centre of Sai Kulwant Hall with their green scarves, with a picture of a mosque as a backdrop when Swami came for darshan. After Bhagawan reached the stage, the programme got underway at 4.50 pm. Children acted out the drama while the songs were sung by the older devotees. Swami came down from the stage to take pictures with the group, and when He returned onstage, the devotees sang Sarva Dharma bhajans in medley style, with no gaps between bhajans. After fifteen minutes of the Bhajan medley, Swami accepted Arati and returned to His residence.

Musical Program By Sathya Sai Devotees From Italy

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Musical Program By Sathya Sai Devotees From ItalyItalian Devotional Songs – Guitar and Piano Solo followed by Group Singing

RadioSai: This evening, devotees from Italy presented a musical programme. Bhagawan came in His golden chair, reaching onstage at 5.25 pm to start the proceedings. After 45 minutes of traditional Italian music, Bhagawan asked them to sing Bhajans. At 6.30 pm, He accepted Arati and moved to the interview room. When He emerged a few minutes later, some students from the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School were waiting with a card and a tray of sweets, on the occasion of their Hostel anniversary. Swami asked the student with the tray of chocolates in the shape of gold coins to follow Him, and moving to the ladies’ side, distributed the sweets to many devotees and even moved among the ladies on wheelchairs giving them the sweets personally. Then He returned to the centre of Sai Kulwant hall, had a set of photographs with the youngest member of their group who had recited Vedam and played a guitar solo, and asked the students to sing Bhajans. At a quarter past seven, Swami moved towards His residence, and the session concluded with Arati once again.

Reference (With Pictures)

Cultural Program by Sathya Sai Devotees From USA

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Cultural Program by Sathya Sai Devotees From USA
Music Program and Skits
July 30, 2008

Devotees from the US (Region 10 – Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas) presented a musical offering to Bhagawan on Monday, July 28th in Sai Kulwant Hall.

The program depicted Bhagawan’s love for mankind throughout the ages. It showed scenes of His various incarnations and messengers to uplift man to enable him to realise his divinity. The entire group of 276 performed a medley of songs in 7 languages, woven together with narration. 57 Bal Vikas (SSE) children provided a dramatic portrayal through skits and dances.

The six episodes focused on the majesty of Rama, the mischief of Krishna, the serenity of the Buddha, the compassion of Jesus, the glory of Allah, and the grandeur of Bhagawan Baba.

The first scene was set to a backdrop of uplifting songs, which described the glory and might of the Lord, and illustrated the power of the vanaras’ devotion to Lord Rama as they built the bridge to Lanka. Our prayer is to be, likewise, humble instruments in Lord Sai Rama’s mission.

The second episode focused on the mischief of Krishna, who charmed Mother Yashoda and the Gopis as He stole yogurt and butter. His leelas, dramatized to a bhajan, inspire us to awaken the God within who will steal our butter-soft hearts. This scene was followed by a song that reminds us to remember Hari (Lord Krishna) in all that we think, say, and do.

Set to a traditional chant followed by a bhajan, the next scene depicted the Lord Buddha’s peaceful aura. His presence was enough to calm the restless minds of spiritual aspirants depicted by SSE students. By controlling the senses and purifying their intake, the heart shall become Prasanthi Nilayam and Sai will reside within.

The fourth episode showed Jesus showering His unconditional love and compassion on the blind, the hungry, the sick, and the needy. Seeing Jesus’ loving service, others, who previously were unwilling to serve, follow suit and therefore are transformed themselves.

The fifth episode showed a traditional Sufi dance set to an uplifting Qawwali praising Allah. The songs of Allah demonstrated that Bhagawan (in all His forms) is the ultimate embodiment of All that Is as He is the One behind everyone and everything.

For the grand finale, the boys and girls created two hearts at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Baba while the entire group sang “Hum Ko Tumse Pyar Kitna.” This represented that the whole world – all faiths, religions, castes, and sects – is arriving at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan to participate in His Divine Mission.

Swami responded to this outpouring of love by coming down into the group of children for a photograph. He granted padanamaskar to several of them, materialized a gold chain for one boy, and distributed prasadam to everyone.

Swami’s pleasure was evident as He invited the group to sing several bhajans in His Divine Presence. After accepting Arathi, Swami raised both hands in blessing to all.

Reference (With Pictures)

RadioSai: This evening, the group from the USA got a chance to present a musical programme with enactments by children in Sai Kulwant Hall. At 5.25 pm their programme got underway when Swami came onstage. Various religions were represented in the group songs for half an hour. Swami interacted with them, and after a few minutes, they began bhajans. Bhagawan accepted Arati and returned to His residence at 6.40 pm.