70 killed in temple stampede in Himachal (Second Lead)

August 3rd, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  


Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh), Aug 3 (IANS) Seventy people were killed and around 40 injured in a stampede at the famous Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh Sunday, police said. Additional Director General of Police S.D. Manhas said: “Seventy people are confirmed dead and 40 injured.”

Most of the victims, including women and children, were residents of Punjab.

The stampede occurred when someone in the crowd of devotees waiting to enter the temple spread a rumour that boulders were rolling down the hill where the temple is located. A massive crowd had gathered at the temple on the occasion of the 10-day Sharavan Ashtami fair that began Saturday.

The inclement weather was hampering rescue operations and evacuation of the injured. The temple, located 160 km from state capital Shimla, is also close to Anandpur Sahib in Punjab.

Traffic on the road leading to the temple was blocked, police said.

Most of the devotees had walked the 11-km stretch to the temple on foot, which takes more than two hours.

The bodies have been taken to the Anandpur Sahib hospital. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has ordered an enquiry into the accident.

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