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Fri 5 Mar 2010 04:26 PM

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India temple stampede kills 63 people

Stampede triggered by a massive rush for free food & clothes at a temple in north India.

India temple stampede kills 63 people
STAMPEDE TRAGEDY: In 2008, at least 285 people died in two temple stampedes in northern India.(Getty Images)

At least 63 people, more than half of them children, were killed in a stampede triggered by a massive rush for free food and clothes at a temple in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, police said.

Thousands of people had gathered at the old temple at Kunda village for free food and clothes being distributed by a monk, but panicked after a wooden gate collapsed.

"At least 37 among the dead are children and 26 of them are women," said Mahesh Mishra, a senior police officer.

Some people were crushed to death under the gate, while others tripped and came under the feet of the rushing crowd as they tried to escape through a narrow corridor. More than 200 people were injured.

"The children fell first and the women in their attempt to save them fell on them," said Shiv, a witness, who only gave his first name. "The crowd just trampled on whoever fell on the ground."

Local residents in Kunda helped police carry the injured to nearby hospitals, police said.

Witnesses said a handful of policemen found it difficult to control the crowd which wanted to enter the temple premises.

In the country, stampedes are relatively common at temples, where thousands of people gather to pray during festivals.

In 2008, at least 285 people died in two temple stampedes in northern India. (Reuters)

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Rakesh Singh 10 years ago

It's sad to know such incident happening which gives sufficient reason to understand and conclude that there is considerable amount of people who are devoid of food. The distribution of food in the temples have no proper crowd control mechanisms and if the adequate numbers of security are deployed this is certain that the risk can be minimized to a great extent which would reduce the casualties. It's alarming to know such facts and figures of stampede and we need to wake up to handle such crisis and be better equipped.