News / Asia

Officials Probe India Temple Stampede

  • Villagers gather after a deadly stampede on a bridge across the Sindh River in Datia district in Madhya Pradesh state, India, Oct. 13, 2013.
  • People cross a bridge after a stampede near Ratangarh temple in Datia district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Oct. 13, 2013.
  • The bodies of victims of a stampede lie on a bridge across the Sindh River in Datia district in Madhya Pradesh state, India, Oct. 13, 2013.
  • Bodies are seen lying on a bridge following a stampede in Datia district, in India's Madhya Pradesh state, Oct. 13, 2013.
Deadly Stampede in India
Aru Pande
In central India, officials have ordered a judicial inquiry into what caused Sunday's stampede that killed at least 110 people during a Hindu religious festival. There are differing accounts of what spurred the incident.
The incident occurred on the last day of the 10-day Navatri festival, when thousands of Hindu devotees packed the bridge leading to a temple in the Datia district of Madhya Pradesh state.
Then - as one woman describes it - panic broke out.
“We were going to the festival and then all of a sudden, someone yelled the ‘bridge is collapsing - run, run, run,’” recalled the woman, who was present.
The resulting stampede killed and injured dozens of people, including several women and children. Many victims jumped off the bridge into the swollen Sindh River below.
A day later, authorities were still trying to make sense of what happened.
Officials say earlier on Sunday a minor collision broke off part of the bridge’s railing, spurring rumors that the bridge would soon collapse. Some eyewitnesses said an attempt by police to control the crowd using batons aggravated the situation.
Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Secretary Anthony J.C. DeSa told reporters that a judicial inquiry has been ordered into what led to the deadly stampede.
“The government will consult with the High Court and whatever the inquiry’s findings are, if someone is guilty - they will be punished,” DeSa said.
Some 500,000 people were reportedly at the temple and at least 20,000 people were said to be crowding the two-lane bridge when Sunday’s stampede took place. Such numbers are not unusual during religious festivals in India, nor are such deadly incidents.
In 2006, at least 50 people were killed in the very same spot during a stampede, prompting the government to construct a 500-meter long concrete bridge to the temple so devotees would not have to cross the Sindh River by boat.
On Monday, politicians started trading blame with Madhya Pradesh Congress Party General Secretary Digvijaya Singh criticizing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for failing to dispatch enough police to secure the crowds.
“This happened under the nose of BJP leaders and they were unable to do anything to prevent it.  We should make a blueprint to ensure this kind of tragedy does not happen again,” said Singh.
Madhya Pradesh leaders rejected Singh’s remarks as politicizing the tragedy, with state elections coming up next month.
The Madhya Pradesh government has offered $2,450 to victims’ families.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed “deep sorry and shock” over the loss of lives on the day of festivities.

WATCH: Related video
Stampede at Indian Hindu Temple Kills Over 100i
October 14, 2013 7:14 AM
Officials in India say the death toll from a stampede on a bridge leading to a remote Hindu temple in Madhya Pradesh state has risen to 109.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Rajratna Phadtare from: Mumbai,Mharashtra,India
October 15, 2013 7:48 AM
The stampede killed 110 lives. such incidents are happening frequently in India..because the people/devotees gather in large numbers .and the Authorities or trusties/officials of Temples or program are careless to provide properly planned access,proper security and and required provisions. Now the time has come for people should learn from such incidents .

by: Dennis from: California
October 14, 2013 1:09 PM
If there are guards or leaders of the group. couldn't they limit the number crossing at any one time?

by: pablo from: los angeles
October 14, 2013 11:18 AM
A japanese girl was asked how she made it out alive from the fukushima sunami. She replied "The only thing we were afraid of was panic". Let us all learn from her

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs