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109 killed in MP temple stampede

Datia (MP), October 13
At least 109 persons were killed today and over 100 injured in a stampede during Navratri festivities near a temple in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district. The stampede was triggered by rumours that a river bridge the devotees were crossing was about to collapse.

The state government ordered a judicial inquiry into the mishap which was a shocking re-run of the tragedy at the same site in 2006 when 50 pilgrims were washed away.

Datia district's Chief Medical Officer(CMO) RS Gupta said autopsies on 109 bodies were conducted till late tonight.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Chambal Range, DK Arya said over 100 injured devotees have been rushed to nearby hospitals.

Devotees from Datia and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh throng the Durga temple to offer prayers on Navratri at Ratangarh, about 60 km from the Datia district headquarters. Unconfirmed reports said that the stampede took place as some people were trying to jump the queue and the police used batons to control them. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as anxious relatives searched for their loved ones from the large number of bodies that lay on the bridge.

The irate crowd, protesting over the incident, pelted stones and clashed with the cops following which police used mild lathicharge to disperse them.

Amid the chaos, police and local volunteers had a tough time to bring the situation under control.

A sub-divisional police officer suffered serious injuries after being hit by stones, the DIG said, adding that some other policemen were also injured.

The situation has been brought under control, Arya said. The state government, with the approval of the State Election Commission in poll-bound MP, has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh to the kin of those killed in the stampede.

The government also announced an assistance of Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 each for those who suffered minor injuries in the mishap. — PTI

Bridge collapse rumour

  • Devotees from Datia and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh thronged the Durga temple to offer prayers on the occasion of Navratri at Ratangarh
  • The police said the stampede occurred on the bridge leading to the temple following rumours by some unidentified persons that it was collapsing
  • Unconfirmed reports said the stampede took place as some people were trying to jump the queue and the police used batons to control them

PM, Sonia Mourn deaths

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi condoled the loss of lives in a stampede at a temple in Madhya Pradesh. “Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families," said the PM. In her message, Sonia Gandhi expressed "shock and deep anguish" over the tragic incident.





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