India temple stampede kills 147
A stampede at a hill-top temple in western India killed more than 147 people and wounded 55 others who had gathered to celebrate the start of a religious holiday on Tuesday, police said.
More than 25,000 devotees were trying to reach the 15th-century temple through a steep and narrow pathway when the stampede occurred around dawn Tuesday, officials said.
The Chamunda Devi temple is located inside a fort atop a hill in Jodhpur, the second-largest city and a popular tourist destination in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Authorities do not know what prompted the rush, but state Police Chief K.S. Bains rejected as “baseless” reports that it was triggered by rumors of a bomb.
“But one thing is clear that a cascading effect did take place as it was a slope where it happened,” he said.
India has been on edge in recent days after a string of deadly bombings across the country.
The crowd had gathered to celebrate the start of Navaratri or nine nights. For nine nights and 10 days, Hindus worship the various forms of a Hindu goddess.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria told reporters that police had planned for the event and deployed “enough” officers for crowd control. But the massive numbers overwhelmed them.