BHOPAL, India, (Reuters) – At least 64 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede after a bridge collapsed near a remote Hindu temple in India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh, a senior police official told Reuters today.
A large number of devotees gathered to celebrate the holy festival of Dussehra at the Ratangarh temple, in a forest outside the town of Datia, 390 km (240 miles) north of the state capital, Bhopal. But a bridge leading to the temple collapsed, triggering the stampede.
“At the moment we can confirm the death toll at 64,” Dilip Arya, a deputy inspector general of police, told Reuters. “More than 100 people are injured and being treated in nearby hospitals.”
As the bridge collapsed, people began rushing towards the temple and got killed in the stampede, Arya said, adding that a few devotees drowned as they jumped into the Sindh river.
Some local media said the police used batons to control the crowd, prompting many people to panic. Inept handling has led 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.