40 killed, 120 injured in temple stampede in Rajasthan

September 30th, 2008 - 10:36 am ICT by IANS  

Jodhpur, Sep 30 (IANS) At least 40 people were killed and 120 injured in a stampede at the Chamunda temple on top of the famous Mehrangarh fort in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur town Tuesday, officials said. Thousands of people had gathered at the temple early Tuesday to offer prayers to mark the beginning of the Navratri festival.

The stampede occurred about 150 feet from the temple when the devotees were rushing downhill on their way back to the town. A barricade broke and the devotees fell over each other. The victims were all men since the queue for women was separate.

“At least 40 were killed and 120 injured in the stampeded that was caused by the breaking of a barricade that was built to control the devotees,” State Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said.

“The injured were rushed to the hospital and we are now focussing on the rescue operations,” he added.

“There were at least 10,000 people when the incident occurred at around 5.30 a.m. I suddenly saw people running and falling on each other. There was complete chaos,” Sharat, an eyewitness, told IANS.

Chamunda was the favourite goddess of Rao Jodha, the king of Jodhpur. He brought her idol from his old capital of Mandore in 1460 and installed in the Mehrangarh fort. Till date, the goddess remains the patron deity of the royal family.

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