March 5, 2010 | 1:12 am
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
There was a tragic stampede today at a Hindu temple in India. The death toll is 63—all women and children. What amazed me most about this story was a line I heard on NPR—that this was the deadliest stampede in India in past few months.
The temple is owned by a Hindu holy man, Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj, who police say was marking the anniversary of the death of his wife with a ritual feast.
Thousands of people had gathered for the ceremonial feast and free distribution of clothes - the stampede occurred when people scrambled to collect the offerings being handed out.
Local journalists told the BBC they were mostly poor people from local villages.
Police officials said an iron gate leading to the temple complex collapsed, leading to a crowd surge.
The BBC’s Ram Dutt Tripathi in the state capital, Lucknow, said the temple gate was under construction when it collapsed.
The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state, Ms Mayawati, has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
Government officials say it appears that the organisers of the event had been unprepared to deal with the size of the crowd.
Read the rest here.
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