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10 killed in temple stampede in Madhya Pradesh; probe ordered


Thirteen year-old Indian girl, Preeti lies on a bed in the Janki Kund Hospital following a stampede at the Kamta Nath Temple in Chitrakoot district of central Madhya Pradesh state on Monday. A stampede at a temple in central India killed at least 10 people and injured scores, the latest in a string of deadly accidents at mass religious events, officials said. Photo: AFP/Sanjay Kanojia

Satna/Bhopal: Ten pilgrims, including six women, were killed in a stampede early on Monday at Kamtanath Pahad Temple, about 80kms from Satna district headquarters, when a large number of people had gathered for some rituals.



The exact number of those injured was yet to be ascertained, a senior official said.

Earlier it was reported that over 60 people suffered injuries in the mishap.

State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has ordered a judicial probe into the accident.

A large number of devotees had gathered at the temple on the occasion of 'Somwati Amavasya' when the mishap occurred during the circumambulation of the Kamtanath Pahad (mountain).

"Ten people were killed in the stampede," District Collector M L Meena said.

Devotees, mostly women, encircle the mountain by lying and rolling on the path for worship. The presence of a large crowd resulted in the stampede in the area leaving 10 people dead, he said.

Chouhan has announced an ex-gratia of Rs200,000 each to the kin of those killed in the stampede; Rs50,000 to the seriously injured and Rs10,000 to those who suffered minor injuries.

The exact number of people injured in the stampede will be known later, as Collector and other senior officials have rushed to the spot from Satna to take stock of the situation, a state government official said.

Rope barriers designed to contain the pilgrims appeared to have given way, sparking panic during the ritual at Chitrakoot in the state's east, the official said.

"During the parikrama (rolling), there was a situation of suffocation and then people started falling over each other and that's what triggered the whole thing," police Additional Superintendent Amit Saxena told the NDTV news network.

Television footage showed bodies of the victims placed side by side, with clothes, shoes and belongings scattered around. Tearful relatives were seen helping police carry the injued to waiting ambulances.

"The place is still very chaotic and crowded, but police and ambulances have reached the spot," local police control room official Vinay Kumar Singh said.

Pilgrims roll in a clockwise circle along the "path of worship"—a five-kilometre (three-mile) circular stretch around the hill, which has a chain of temples along its base.

"The accident occurred when the rope barriers set up to contain thousands of Hindu pilgrims during circumambulation of Kamadgiri hill gave way...resulting in a stampede," said police Inspector General Pawan Srivastava.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh offered his condolences to those involved.

"Deeply saddened to know of ten pilgrims death in a stampede at a temple in Chitrakoot area of Madhya Pradesh," Singh said on Twitter.

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