Stampede in India kills at least 140

Monday, August 4, 2008

At least 140 people have been killed and fifty people injured in a stampede at the temple in Naina Devi, India. The incident occurred after rumors spread about a landslide on the nearby mountain. One report indicated at least 40 of the victims were children.

The chief minister of Himachal Pradesh announced that he would give compensation to the injured and the families of the dead.

50,000 people were expected to attend the temple during the day of the stampede, as part of a nine-day Shravan Navratras festival which had just started.

Rajnath Singh, the current leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party in India responded to the stampede by releasing a statement in the hours after the disaster.

"I am deeply saddened to learn about the tragic death of over 100 pilgrims. I convey my deep felt condolences to the family members of all those who have lost their lives or have been injured in the incident," he said.

Meanwhile, Kumar Dhumal, the chief minister for Himachal, has announced an inquiry into the disaster.

Press reports say stampedes at temples are not rare occurrences. The Times Online says that about 80% of India's population 1.1 billion is Hindu. Temples can be a gathering place for over 100,000 people during festivals.

In July, a stampede in the eastern Puri killed six people. In March, 9 died when a railing broke in central India. In 2005, another stampede left an estimated 258 to 265 dead in the state of Maharashtra.


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