Indian Temple Stampede Leaves At Least 10 Dead, But Just What Set It Off?

As thousands gathered to celebrate at the Kamtanath Pahad temple in Satna district in Madhya Pradesh early Monday, they had no idea that the holiday was soon to end in tragedy. While the cause if still speculated, a stampede in the Indian temple has a death count of at least 10 and nearly 60 injuries, reported BBC News. Police official Vinay Kumar Singh gave news of the scene following the early morning tragedy.

A stampede broke out very early this morning, around 5:30 or so, where five women and five men have died. The place is still very chaotic and crowded, but police and ambulances have reached the spot.

Two possible explanations for the stampede have been presented — one that says a part of the ceremony may have been the culprit. A lying posture called “Shayana Pradakshinam” may have spooked other festival-goers, Inspector General Pawan Srivastava told The Times of India.

In this pose, the devotees circumambulate on the pradakshina path. The relatives and friends of the devotees help them to roll around. Some of the pilgrims who were walking fell on the ground during the circumambulation and this triggered a panic.

Another cause presented by the local police force is that a live wire may have sparked over the crowd, causing a panic and subsequent stampede in the Indian temple, police official Pawan Srivastava told BBC News.

Although the death toll of the stampede is still unclear, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has already promised to compensate families of the victims with 200,000 rupees (US$3,300), according to Al-Jazeera. India’s Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh tweeted twice to offer sympathy about the event.

The thousands of Indians gathered the the Kamadgiri hill were there aspart of a pilgrimage of the Hindu religion. In Hindu mythology, it was home of Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman while they were living in exile. Thankfully, the stampede did not take place in one of the largest temples on the holy site, but in a slightly smaller one located near the back of the hill.

Stampedes during Indian festivals have been all too common in the past few years. Also in Madhya Pradesh state, some 151 attendees were trampled to death at a Hindu celebration, some of the drowning after falling off a nearby bridge. More than 100 were killed in 2011 in Kerala state, while another 220 died in Jodhpur in 2008.

[Image via Flickr]