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

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