Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Many die in India temple stampede, police say

An unidentified woman is comforted after a stampede at a temple in Kunda, 180 kilometers (112 miles) southeast of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh - March 4, 2010
Most of those gathered at the ceremony were from nearby villages

At least 63 people have died in a stampede after the gate of a Hindu temple collapsed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, police say.

Dozens more were injured in the panic at the temple in Pratapgarh district, 650km (400 miles) south-east of Delhi.

All of the dead identified so far are women and children, police say. The temple gate was still being built.

Hundreds of people have been killed in stampedes at crowded Indian temples in recent years.

'Counted all the bodies'

Thursday's disaster happened at a popular Ram Janaki temple in the town of Kunda in Pratapgarh district, about 25km (15 miles) north of the city of Allahabad.

The temple is owned by a Hindu holy man, Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj, who police say was marking the anniversary of the death of his wife with a ritual feast.

January 2010: Seven people die at festival on Ganges in West Bengal
September 2008: More than 220 people die at temple in Jodhpur
August 2008: At least 140 people die at temple in Himachal Pradesh
March 2008: At least eight people killed at temple in Madhya Pradesh
January 2005: Up to 300 people die on pilgrimage to Maharashtra temple

Thousands of people had gathered for the ceremonial feast and free distribution of clothes - the stampede occurred when people scrambled to collect the offerings being handed out.

Local journalists told the BBC they were mostly poor people from local villages.

Police officials said an iron gate leading to the temple complex collapsed, leading to a crowd surge.

"We have now counted all the bodies and they include 37 children and 26 women who had come to collect free gifts," assistant superintendent of police SP Pathak told AFP news agency from the scene of the disaster.

The BBC's Ram Dutt Tripathi in the state capital, Lucknow, said the temple gate was under construction when it collapsed.


Emergency teams and ambulances were rushed to the site, some from neighbouring districts and the injured have been taken to hospitals.

Hundreds of people gathered at local hospitals for news of their relatives.

"She had just wandered in to see what was happening," 38-year-old Gudal, whose seven-year-old daughter died in the stampede, told the Associated Press news agency.

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state, Ms Mayawati, has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Government officials say it appears that the organisers of the event had been unprepared to deal with the size of the crowd.

Eyewitnesses say it took a while for help to arrive and there was no-one on hand initially to offer them any assistance.

There have been a number of similar accidents in India in which large numbers of people congregate in an area ill-equipped to handle big gatherings.

In 2008, nearly 300 people were killed in stampedes and scores injured in two different Hindu temples in Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh states.

Print Sponsor

In pictures: Indian stampede
04 Mar 10 |  In Pictures
Scores die in India temple crush
30 Sep 08 |  South Asia
Timeline: Most deadly stampedes
04 Mar 10 |  South Asia

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific