At least 89 killed in stampede at Madhya Pradesh temple

BHOPAL, India Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:25am IST

People cross a bridge after a stampede near Ratangarh temple in Datia district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh October 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

People cross a bridge after a stampede near Ratangarh temple in Datia district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh October 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BHOPAL, India (Reuters) - A stampede at a bridge leading to a remote Hindu temple in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday killed at least 89 people and injured more than 100, police said.

Nearly 150,000 devotees gathered to celebrate Dussehra at the Ratangarh temple, in a forest outside the town of Datia, 390 km (240 miles) north of Bhopal.

But pilgrims panicked when the railings broke on a bridge that led to the temple, triggering the stampede. Some devotees were crushed to death under the feet of fellow worshippers, others drowned after falling or jumping into the river Sindh.

"The death toll has shot up to 89 now and nearly 100 people are injured. Relief work tends to slow down after the sunset but will start in full swing from tomorrow morning," Dilip Arya, a deputy inspector general of police, told Reuters.

Local media said the police used batons to control the crowd, prompting many people to panic. A team of 20 doctors was been sent to help, the media said.

Pilgrims have died due to stampedes on previous occasions.

In February this year, a stampede killed at least 36 Hindu pilgrims, who were part of the world's largest religious festival which attracted some 30 million people.

(Writing by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Alison Williams)

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