Guj: 11 killed in stampede at Pavagadh temple

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Vadodara, Oct 14: At least 11 devotees were killed and more than 25 wounded in a stampede in the famous Kali Mata temple atop the Pavagadh hills, a world heritage site, about 45 km from here, today.

According to Panchmahal District Collector Milind Borbane, the stampede took place at around 1100 hour near the Tarapur Darwaja, a few meters away from the main temple, following a huge gathering of devotees.

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The victims were rushed to the Halol Referal hospital. Two of the seriously injured victims were referred to the SSG hospital in Vadodara, Mr Borbane said.

The official sources said more than 2,00,000 devotees had gathered at the temple this morning to have a darshan of the deity on the third day of Navratri festival, which is being celebrated across the state. Collector Mr Borbane, who rushed to the spot along with district superintendent of police Dipankar Trivedi and other senior officials to personally supervise the rescue and relief operations, said the cause of scramble was not immediately known.

According to Halol Hospital sources, all the eleven casualties reported so far were received dead, which included four women and as many children.

A couple of medical teams from Vadodara and Halol cities have rushed to the spot, and injured were being shifted to hospitals, sources said.

In the last three years, this is the second major accident at the Pavagadh temple, which is located around 850 meters above the sea level. In 2004, nine devotees were killed and 19 others injured when the ropeway to the temple snapped due to a technical snag. Preliminary reports said the situation went out of control of the district administration, when hundreds of devotees gathered at Tarapur Darwaja to climb up the hill for the darshan.

More than one million devotees visit the temple during the nine-day Navratri festivities.

UNI

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