Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

Asia-pacific

More than 100 pilgrims killed in festival stampede

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-15

More than 100 pilgrims were killed in southern Kerala on Friday after a vehicle lost control and ploughed into a group of people returning from a Hindu festival, triggering a stampede. Dozens more were injured in the accident, some seriously.

AFP - More than 100 Hindu devotees were killed after a road accident triggered a stampede among thousands of pilgrims returning from an Indian religious festival, officials said Saturday.
              
The Friday evening tragedy unfolded in a remote, mountainous area of southern Kerala as pilgrims made their way home from an annual ceremony at the hill shrine of Sabarimala that draws three to four million people each year.
              
Kerala Home Secretary Jaya Kumar told AFP that 102 people had been confirmed dead and dozens more injured, some of them seriously.
              
Police officials said a packed jeep had lost control and ploughed into a crowd of devotees packed onto a narrow road in a hilly and densely forested area 10 kilometres (six miles) from the shrine.
              
"The accident caused a mass panic and triggered a stampede on the hillside," said Special Police Commissioner Rajendra Nair.
              
The search for bodies and survivors had been hampered by the remote location, heavy mist and the thick forest terrain.
              
Indian television ran pictures of casualties being passed over the heads of tightly packed crowds of pilgrims in a rescue effort that stretched deep into the night.
              
The stampede occurred on the final day of the pilgrimage at the Sabarimala shrine, located in Idukki district, about 200 kilometres from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
              
It is the second time in recent memory that the festival has been struck by disaster. In 1999 more than 50 Hindu devotees died after a landslide on a crowded hillside at the site.
              
Stampedes at public events in India are common as large numbers of people crowd into congested areas. Few safety regulations and absent or inadequate policing mean panic can spread quickly with deadly consequences.
              
The spark is often an accident but occasionally simply a rumour about a bomb or attack leads to a crush. Women and children frequently make up the majority of the victims.
              
The governor of Kerala, a popular holiday destination and spice-growing region with sandy beaches and lush green mountains, expressed his sadness at the loss of life.
              
R.S. Gavai said he was "deeply shocked and saddened at the tragic accident."
              
He added: "I share my profound grief of the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured."
              
Many of the victims were from the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
              
Under the customs of the pilgrimage, hundreds of thousands of men and women set off on foot in groups for the Sabarimala temple, each carrying a cloth bundle containing traditional offerings.
              
But many of the elderly, or those short of time, opt to cram into overloaded buses and jeeps to travel as close as possible to the temple, which is believed to be where the god Ayyappa meditated.
              
The shrine is packed with devotees throughout the pilgrimage season from November to January.
              
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 another Hindu temple.
              
At least another 10 people died in a stampede at a temple in the state of Bihar in October.
 

Date created : 2011-01-15

  • INDIA

    Ten people killed during stampede at Hindu temple

    Read more

  • INDIA

    Stampede at religious festival kills 63 women and children

    Read more

COMMENT(S)