NEW DELHI - Thousands of panicked pilgrims stampeded Sunday at a remote mountaintop temple in northern India during celebrations to honor a Hindu goddess, sending dozens of people plummeting to their deaths and trampling scores more. Police said 145 people were killed.
Rumors of a landslide apparently started the panic at the shrine in the foothills of the Himalayas, said C.P. Verma, a senior government official in the Bilaspur district.
Pilgrims already at the Naina Devi Temple began running down the narrow path leading from the peak. There, they collided with devotees winding their way up.
With a concrete wall on one side and a precipice on the other, there was nowhere to escape and they were crushed. At one point a guard rail broke and dozens of people fell to their deaths.
The bodies of the devotees — many dressed in brightly colored holiday clothes — carpeted the path, intertwined with flattened iron railings. Many still held the flowers and food they planned to offer at the temple.
Police said they used a cable car at the shrine to ferry some of the bodies down, and helicopters flew in to take the wounded to hospitals.
At the Bilaspur hospital in Himachal Pradesh state, rescue workers unloaded bodies wrapped in brown blankets from a truck and laid them in neat rows so they could be identified by relatives.
“I rushed to the spot in search of my three children who had gone to pay obeisance at the hilltop shrine,” Jawahar Khurana told the Press Trust of India news agency as he searched the bodies.
“I fail to understand why God was so cruel to us,” he said.
All the bodies were taken to the Anandpur Sahib hospital in the neighboring state of Punjab where authorities were carrying out autopsies, senior police officer R. N. Dhoke told The Associated Press by telephone from the hospital. He said the death toll was not expected to rise further.
Many of the dead were women and children, he said, and another 37 people were injured and in hospital.
Tens of thousands of worshippers had flocked to the remote temple in the foothills of the Himalayas to celebrate Shravan Navratras, a nine-day festival that honors the Hindu goddess Shakrti, or divine mother.
The temple is about 155 miles northeast of New Delhi.
Lessons in the dangers of “obeisance?”
From the article:
Rumors of a landslide apparently started the panic at the shrine
BEWARE those vicious rumors!
Deadly stampedes are a relatively common occurrence at temples in India,
where large crowds — sometimes hundreds of thousands of people — congregate in small areas lacking facilities to control such big gatherings.
And yet the poor father fails to understand:
“... why God was so cruel to us,”
And blames god instead of the rumor monger. (Poor god(s)/goddess(es), they get the credit and the blame for all random occurrences, good and bad that befall humankind… maybe it was the goddess who started the rumor? )
Where’s the sense? Shouldn’t they make facilities to fit the large groups of people or build more temples instead? Or better yet, turn them into museums or tourist sites where they can control the crowd influx?
Sunday was the second day of the festival and authorities sought to reassure other pilgrims. “There is no need to panic, everything is normalized now,” Verma said.
Verma wants everything to go back to “normal.” No need to “panic” until the next rumor… things will never be “normal’ until they recognize the ludicrousness of obeisance to imaginary entities.
All flippancy aside, my heart goes out to the survivors of the dead, the dead; all those poor women and children… such an unnecessary tragedy.
And yet the poor father fails to understand: “... why God was so cruel to us,”
What is it with people that they think it is a good idea to crowd together with a gazillion other twits for any reason?
Don’t they know that there is probably one Dutch tourist with a peculiar sense of humor who will shout at the top of his lungs: “Look, there is Oprah naked ” ?
Perhaps they were worshipping Kali, then the tragic event can easily be placed in a proper religious context.
It’s like I said elsewhere… no science, no drainage.
Strength in numbers maybe Sander? Dunno. never really got the worshipping crowd thing either.
What 1 hand grenade, (or rumor of an attack or a landslide) could do to a bunch of peoples deluded faith eh?
Homo Sapiens are about as smart as cockroaches sometimes. Too often it seems.