January 15, 2011

Indian Temple Stampede Kills 'Over 100' WOW! :o

The Telegraph UK
written by Barney Henderson
Friday January 14, 2011 at 8:30pm GMT

A stampede of pilgrims returning from one of India's most popular Hindu festivals has killed more than 100 people in the southern state of Kerala.

The stampede happened on Friday evening as devotees were returning from a pilgrimage to the Hindu shrine of Sabarimala, which is in a remote, mountainous, densely-forested area.

A jeep drove into a crowd of worshippers walking along a narrow forest path, causing panic and setting off the stampede. However, another report stated the stampede started when the jeep broke down and overturned as pilgrims tried to move it.

The annual two-month festival attracts between three and four million worshippers to the remote temple to the Hindu deity Ayyappan.

The ceremony on Friday marked the end of the festival, and an estimated 150,000 devotees were thought to have taken the narrow path out of the hills where the stampede took place.

"Bodies have been recovered from the accident site. Seventy-five persons have been hospitalised with injuries. Most of them are in three hospitals," Kerala Home Minister Kodiuyeri Balakrishnan said.

Stampedes at public events in India are common as large numbers of people crowd into congested areas. Panic can spread quickly and, with few safety regulations in place, the result is often lethal.

In March last year, police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh blamed lax safety for the deaths of 63 people – all of them women and children – in a stampede outside a Hindu temple.

At least another 10 people died in a stampede at a temple in the state of Bihar in October.

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