More than 91 people have reportedly been killed in a stampede at a Hindu temple in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
Some reports said the stampede occurred when police used batons to control a huge crowd that had gathered at the Ratangarh Temple near the village of Chand Pur, in Datia District.
As the devotees attempted to flee, hundreds of people ran towards a bridge across the Sindh river and an unknown number are believed to have fallen in.
Dozens are feared to have died and at least 100 were injured in the incident on Sunday.
Others claimed the stampede happened when a rumour swept through a crowd of 20,000 crossing the bridge that it was about to collapse.
Many of those who drowned did so while trying to save the lives of others, India’s News Tribe website reported.
The true cause of the stampede, which happened about 200 miles southeast of the capital Delhi, has yet to emerge.
The incident happened at a spot on the Sindh river where more than half-a-million pilgrims have gathered to take part in rituals.
Local Deputy Police Inspector General D K Arya denied that a baton charge had taken place.
He said: “More than 100 others have been injured … There was no baton charge.”
Rescue teams have been combing the water to pull out bodies and in an attempt to find survivors.
The worshippers were gathering at the temple as part of the celebrations for the Navratri festival.
The 10-day festival includes an event marking the victory of the Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon in Hindu mythology.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced he had ordered a judicial probe into the incident.
Madhya Pradesh’s government said it was offering Rs150,000 (£1,540) to the families of those who were killed and Rs50,000 (£513) to those who were seriously injured.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tweeted: ”On this day of festivities, our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
In 2006, at least 35 devotees died at the same spot after they were washed away when a dam in a neighbouring province opened its sluice gates causing a deluge.
Culled from SkyNews.
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