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Stampede kills 123 Hindu worshippers in India


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CHANDIGARH, India (Reuters) - At least 123 people, mostly women and children, were crushed to death in a stampede at a temple in northern India on Sunday, police said.

Iron railings around the Hindu temple in the state of Himachal Pradesh broke, causing panic, with people trampling over falling women and children, they said.

"As of now we have 123 people dead, including more than 40 children," Daljit Singh Manhas, a senior police officer told Reuters.

"The injured have been taken to two places and the toll could be more as we are awaiting news from other hospitals," Manhas added. He said at least 45 women were among the dead.

Children were among the first to fall to the ground and were trampled by pilgrims running to safety, even as their parents tried to save them, police officers said.

Thousands of worshippers had gathered at the temple in Bilaspur district to pray to a Hindu goddess during an annual festival.

More than 3,000 people were trying to get into the temple at the same time when part of the iron railing broke, officials said.

Most of the worshippers were from the neighboring state of Punjab, they said.

Television pictures showed people being carried on stretchers to a hospital, many writhing in pain.

"There were a lot of people inside and we were trying to fight for space when everyone started falling over," one female worshipper, Bimala, told television reporters.

Stampedes at temples are not uncommon in India where thousands of people gather to pray during festivals. In 2005, about 265 pilgrims were killed in a stampede near a temple in the western state of Maharashtra.

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sad indeed. Many of these temples are really old, so they don't necessarily meet what we would call fire code restrictions. I do not know for sure, but I have been in some famous temples in India and they are crowded as heck. Thankfully we can usually just buy the "VIP" passes and wait in a shorter and more controlled line.

I hope this raises awareness about doing something on crowd control. I mean, God knows there are enough people in India who can work, and it probably would not cost the government much to put in stronger crowd control methods like barriers and more guards.

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Very sad.

I saw some of the pictures on CNN. Bodies just lined up against the walls. Most of them kids.

My girlfriend was born in India (yes, we're giving it another shot). Anyway, I'm extremely glad she was adopted at such a young age. I couldn't imagine living in that country with all the hardship they endure.

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