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Asia-pacific

Scores killed in India temple stampede

© Ratangarh Temple

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-13

Officials in India said at least 91 people were killed and over 100 injured on Sunday when a stampede broke out in a Hindu temple in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, according to reports from Indian media.

At least 91 people were killed and over 100 were injured in a stampede on Sunday morning at a Hindu temple in India's central state of Madhya Pradesh, local media reported.

"The death toll has risen to 91 and 10 others are in a critical condition," Deputy Police Inspector D.K. Arya told AFP after the tragedy in the Datia district of central Madhya Pradesh state.

Police said the stampede happened as pilgrims were crossing a bridge over the River Sindh, on their way to the temple.

Arya said the crowd rushed for the exit when a rumour spread that the bridge might collapse after it was hit by a tractor.

Some 20,000 people were on the bridge when the stampede broke out, according to police.

Reports say up to 400,000 devotees were already inside or around the Ratangarh temple in Datia district, some 350 kilometres north of the state capital Bhopal.

According to the BBC, most of the victims were killed in the stampede, while others drowned after jumping off the bridge.

The pilgrims were celebrating the end of the Navaratri festival, dedicated to the worship of the Hindu god Durga, which draws millions of worshippers to temples, especially in northern India.

Emergency services are on the scene to recover victims and provide assistance to the injured.

India has a long history of deadly stampedes at religious festivals, with at 36 people trampled to death back in February as pilgrims headed home from the Kumbh Mela religious festival on the banks of the river Ganges.

Some 102 Hindu devotees were killed in a stampede in January 2011 in the state of Kerala while 224 pilgrims died in September 2008 as thousands of worshippers rushed to reach a 15th-century hill-top temple in the northern town of Jodhpur.

Map showing Ratangarh temple near Datia in Madhya Pradesh‎

View Ratangarh temple near Datia, in Madhya Pradesh in a larger map

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-10-13

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