30 Sep 2008

Scores killed in Indian temple stampede

10:26 pm on 30 September 2008

At least 125 people have been killed in a stampede at a Hindu temple in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.

Officials told the BBC that at least 100 more were injured in the incident at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur on Tuesday.

A wall near the temple is said to have collapsed, causing panic among thousands of gathered devotees.

Before dawn, thousands of people had made their way to the hill-top temple in a huge 15th Century fort overlooking Jodhpur. They were gathering to celebrate the start of a nine-day Hindu festival known as Navaratra.

It is not entirely clear why the stampede happened, but an official in Jodhpur said the collapse of a wall on the narrow path leading to the temple caused people to flee in panic.

Television news channels showed pictures of injured devotees lying on the streets, and relatives trying to revive unconscious pilgrims.

Authorities have ordered an investigation into the incident.

There have been at least four fatal stampedes in India so far during 2008, including an incident in August in which 140 people were killed in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.