Stampede at Indian Temple Kills 145; Horror: A Pilgrim Grieves in Himachal Pradesh
AT LEAST 145 people were crushed to death under the feet of thousands of pilgrims in a stampede at a temple in northern India yesterday.
Most of the dead were women and children, according to official reports.
The huge crowd of Hindu worshippers was snaking up a 2.5-mile trail leading to the hilltop Nainadevi temple in Himachal Pradesh state, chanting and singing hymns, when the stampede occurred.
Police said the pilgrims might have panicked after heavy rains caused large stones from a retaining wall along the trail to fall.
The pilgrims started fleeing down the slope, breaking an iron railing and trampling fallen women and children under their feet, said Daljit Singh Manhas, a senior police officer.
'We have confirmation now that 145 people have been killed,' he said.
'We found eight to ten stones which had fallen off and probably scared the people, causing the stampede.' At least 40 children and 45 women were among the dead, police and health department officials said.
Thousands of worshippers had gathered at the temple in Bilaspur district, some 95 miles north of the town of Chandigarh, to pray to the Hindu goddess Nainadevi during the annual festival.
Authorities said at least 48 other people were seriously injured and they were looking for more injured pilgrims in private clinics. …