63 die, dozens injured in Indian temple stampede

| March 4, 2010

LUCKNOW, India – A stampede broke out in at a temple in northern India as thousands of people jostled each other to get free clothes and utensils being distributed during a religious ceremony, leaving at least 63 people dead and dozens more injured, officials said.

The crush of people also knocked down a gate at the compound of a temple that belongs to a popular religious leader in Kunda, a small town 110 miles (180 kilometers) southeast of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, said Ashok Kumar, a senior government official said.

Thousands were gathering at the temple to receive free goods to mark the anniversary of the death of the wife of the leader, Kripalu Maharaj, said Brij Lal, a senior local police official.

Deadly stampedes are a relatively common occurrence at temples in India, where large crowds — sometimes hundreds of thousands of people — congregate in small areas lacking facilities to control big gatherings.

In 2008, more than 145 people died in a stampede at a remote Hindu temple at the foothill of the Himalayas.



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