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Stampede in India kills 145 pilgrims

From the Associated Press

Dozens of Hindu pilgrims fell through a broken guardrail and scores more were trampled when thousands of devotees panicked Sunday at a remote mountaintop temple, leaving 145 dead, police said

Rumors of a landslide apparently started the stampede at the shrine in the Himalayan foothills, said C.P. Verma, a senior government official in the Bilaspur district.

Pilgrims gathered for celebrations at the Naina Devi Temple began running down the narrow path leading from the peak. There, they collided with devotees winding their way up.

With a concrete wall on one side and a precipice on the other, there was no escape. Victims were crushed or fell through the guardrail to their deaths.

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The bodies of the devotees, many dressed in brightly colored holiday clothes, covered the path, intertwined with flattened iron railings. Many of them still held the flowers and food they planned to offer at the temple.

Senior police officer R.N. Dhoke said many of the dead were women and children. He said 37 people were hospitalized.


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