Hathras 'satsang' tragedy: A look at deadliest stampedes in India

The largest casualties caused by stampedes at religious gatherings include the death of more than 340 devotees at Maharashtra's Mandher Devi Temple in 2005, while at least 250 were killed at Rajasthan's Chamunda Devi temple in 2008.
Last Updated : 03 July 2024, 04:35 IST

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Over a 100 people were killed -- most of them elderly, women, and children -- at a 'satsang', a religious gathering in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras on Tuesday when a stampede took place towards the end of the event.

While Bhole Baba, the man who was behind the event, is absconding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of the kin of the deceased, and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit the site today while the Chief Secretary has blamed overcrowding as one of the reasons for the tragedy. Meanwhile, an FIR has been filed against the organisers.

There have been numerous other instances in India where people have died at stampedes in temples and other religious gatherings.

Here's a look at the deadliest stampedes in India over the years:

1 - Nashik Kumbh Mela stampede in 2003

Held once every three years, the Kumbh Mela is one of the most religious and biggest Hindu festivals.

A stampede had broken out in 2003, in Mumbai's Nashik when thousands of pilgrims arrived at the Godavari River to take part the holy dip during the Kumbh Mela.

Eyewitnesses had said that the stampede occurred as the pilgrims forced their way through the narrow streets and also broke barricades to reach the river.

Atleast 39 people including women were killed and more than 100 were injured in the stampede in the Nashik Kumbh Mela on August 27, 2003.

2 - Mandher Devi Temple stampede in 2005

A stampede had occurred as about 3 lakh people had arrived at the Mandher Devi Temple in Maharashtra, to perform their annual prayers on the day of Shakambhari Purnima on January 25, 2005.

A fire had broken out in the nearby shops leading to gas cylinder explosions which created panic amongst the crowd.

It was alleged that some people were charred in the fire and the rest -- in a rush to save their lives -- jostled each other, crushing many to death on the steep stone steps of the temple.

It is said that the offical death toll in the tragedy was 257, but police said that the number hit 300.

The Satara district officials had said that about 194 bodies were identified and most of them were women.

Naina Devi Temple stampede in 2008

At the mountaintop Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh, about 145 Hindu pilgrims died after rumours of a landslide triggered a stampede.

3 - Chamunda Devi Temple stampede in 2008

A stampede had occurred in Rajasthan's Jodhpur on September 30, 2008, when about 25,000 pilgrims had arrived to visit the temple to mark the first day of the Navratri festival.

The death tally in the tragedy reached 224 and more than 425 were injured in the stampede which occurred due to the destruction of barricades leading to scrambling of the devotees towards the door of the 15th century temple.

It was also alleged that there were rumours about a bomb blast, or a bomb being planted in the temple premises, which caused a panic.

Uttar Pradesh stampede in 2010

At least 63 people, more than half of them children, were killed in a stampede triggered by a massive rush for free food and clothes at a Hindu temple in Uttar Pradesh.

4 - Sabarimala stampede in 2011

A stampede had occurred on January 14, 2011, at Pullumedu near Kerala's Sabarimala.

The incident which claimed 106 lives and injured about 100 people began after an SUV toppled over. It was declared a 'national disaster'.

The pilgrims were returning through the forest after offering Makara Jyothi darshan, but after a jeep overturned, it triggered a stampede when the crowd started rushing down the hill towards the road.

5 - Prayag Kumbh Mela in 2013

A stampede broke out in Uttar Pradesh's Kumbh Mela, killing 42 people and leaving 45 injured.

The stampede occurred on February 10, 2013, at the Allahabad train station when a footbridge collapsed leading to panic and a huge rush of people.

About 30 million people were expected to arrive at the Ganga River for the holy dip.

Ratangarh Temple stampede in 2013

Around 115 people were killed and more than a hundred injured after a stampede at the Ratangarh temple in Madhya Pradesh after more than 1,50,000 people gathered to celebrate Navratri.

Vaishno Devi temple stampede in 2022

At least 12 people died, and more were injured in a stampede at the Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir, after a huge crowd of devotees tried to go into the shrine though its narrow entrance.

With Reuters inputs...

Published 03 July 2024, 04:35 IST

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