Zee Media Bureau/Tarun Khanna and Hemant Abhishek
Bhopal: At least 109 people were killed and over 100 injured in a stampede at Ratangarh Temple in Madha Pradesh’s Datia district on Sunday.
Datia district`s Chief Medical Officer(CMO) R S Gupta said autopsies on 109 bodies were conducted till late tonight.
The incident happened when the pilgrims were crossing the Sindh river bridge to attend a religious ritual on the last day of Navratra festival at Ratangarh’s Mandula Devi temple, which is about 60 kms from district headquarters and around 320 kms away from the state capital.
Reports quoted DK Arya, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Chambal Range, as saying that rumours led to the accident.
“89 people were killed in the stampede on the bridge over Sindh river leading to the temple at Ratangarh, where lakhs of devotees had congregated, following rumours by some unidentified persons that it was collapsing," he said.
Police also resorted to mild lathicharge to control when the crowd started pelting stones at the cops.
Unconfirmed reports said that the stampede took place as some people were trying to jump the queue and police used batons to control them.
Arya said nearly 100 people have been injured in the mishap and they have been rushed to nearby hospitals.
Sub divisional officer was seriously injured after being hit by the stones.
Thousands of people have thronged the temple during the Navaratras this year.
The state government, with the approval of the State Election Commission in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh to the kin of those killed in the stampede.
The government also announced an assistance of Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 each for those who suffered minor injuries in the mishap.
MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has appealed to the people to remain calm. He has also ordered a judicial probe into the incident.
Similar stampede incident had occurred at the same place five years back. Moreover, on October 20, 2012, three women were killed and 35 others were injured in a stampede at the Salkanpur Devi Temple in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh.