Shimla: 120 Dead, Hundreds Injured in Stampede at Naina Devi Temple


Shimla, Aug 03: Over 120 pilgrims were killed on Sunday in a stampede at a temple located in Bilaspur district, about 160 kms from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. 

"As of now we have 123 people dead, including more than 40 children," Daljit Singh Manhas, a senior police officer said.

"The injured have been taken to two places and the toll could be more as we are awaiting news from other hospitals," Manhas added.

He said at least 45 women were among the dead. Children were among the first to fall to the ground and were trampled by pilgrims running to safety, even as their parents tried to save them, police officers said.

The bodies, mostly of people from Patiala, reached Bhai Jaitta civil hospital in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, which is about 40 km from the temple site, for post mortem, Ropar Deputy Commissioner B Purshartha told reporters.

Rumours of a landslide and rolling down of stones from a nearby hilltop led to a commotion which apparently caused the stampede as a large number of pilgrims tried to push their way causing collapse of a railing along the four-km trek to the temple.

The pilgrims had gathered to offer prayers on the occasion of 'Navratra'. The incident that took place around 1000 hrs, Additional District Magistrate C P Verma told reporters from the spot, about 50 kms from district headquarters of Bilaspur.

Officials said the stampede took place as there was sudden rush at a point along the temple trek caused by people returning from the hilltop shrine and those going up.

"The stampede happened after a railing fell. People started running here and there," Himachal Pradesh government's Principal Secretary P C Kapoor said.

"It is presumed that most of the people there are from neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh," he said.

Superintendent of Police K K Indoria and other senior civil and police officials were at the spot to supervise the relief work which was hampered due to rain. The temple of under government control.

A temple functionary said devotees with minor injuries have been sent to a hospital in nearby Dawar Chowk while those with serious injuries were being sent to hospitals in Punjab's Anandpur Sahib.


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Comment on this article

  • Shivananda Hegde, Dubai

    Mon, Aug 04 2008

    My uncles always says Religion is the main cause of all social evils. Again, I must say its untrue. Here in this case stampede took place where there is no proper control over crowd is exercised by police. It is the duty of police to control crowd and the same time duty of  the devotees to go to temple following a "Q" in a desciplined manner.

    We public dont follow descipline. We observe when hit movie is released in theatre, people just rush and rush not bothering about others.. This is very rediculous. Anyways, we can not blame God for. Sorry for what happpend to devotees who have lost the life. May their soul rest in peace. Love/Shiva

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  • Seif Sultan, Kulshekar Kalpane / Sharjah

    Mon, Aug 04 2008

    The Government should provide safety in religious places, Not only from terrorists but from basic things like strong barricades etc, if its the temple authority then they should think about it. My heart goes out for the family and friends of my country men,

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Lancy Moras, Bajjodi, Jeddah Saudi Arabia

    Sun, Aug 03 2008

    I am sad to read this. Let us pray for the departed people to rest in peace and into the safe hands of one God. They are all with no doubt sacrificial victims.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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Title: Shimla: 120 Dead, Hundreds Injured in Stampede at Naina Devi Temple

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