3 women die in India temple stampede
New Delhi, Aug 8 (EFE).- A stampede at a crowded Hindu temple in north India on Monday killed at least three women, police said.
Four more people suffered injuries in the crush at the entrance of the Khatu Shyam temple in Rajasthan.
An officer said the stampede occurred around 5 am when priests opened the temple doors for hundreds of pilgrims waiting outside for prayers on the 11th day of the lunar calendar.
The day is considered auspicious for prayers to Khatu Shyamjii, a divine figure believed to be an incarnation of Lord Krishna.
Police officer S. Ramchandra told EFE that at least three women died in the chaos.
“It is not clear what happened at the temple. Officers are at the scene investigating the incident,” Ramchandra said, adding the situation was under control.
He said a massive crowd of devotees had gathered since the early hours for prayers at the temple on “Ekadasi,” or the 11th day of the lunar calendar, considered auspicious by Hindus.
Various Indian media reported that the chaos happened after a woman in the crowd fainted and fell to the ground.
Several others also fell, triggering the stampede.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has ordered a probe into the accident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media to pay his condolences to the bereaved families.
“Saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at the Khatu Shyamji Temple complex in Sikar, Rajasthan. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
The temple is considered one of the most important pilgrim destinations in the northern state.
It usually sees huge crowds and long queues of devotees jostling for space to enter the temple. Sometimes, these lines stretch kilometers long on the national highway.
Stampedes during religious celebrations are common in India due to huge crowds and a lack of security measures to control the mobs.
At least 12 people died in a stampede at a Hindu temple in the northern Kashmir region at the beginning of the year.
One of the worst such tragedies took place on Jan.25, 2005, when at least 258 people were killed during a Hindu pilgrimage in the western state of Maharashtra. EFE