Over 100 killed, 200 injured in Naina Devi stampede

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Bilaspur, Aug 3 (UNI) Over 100 pilgrims, including women and chidlren were killed and 200 others were injured following a stampede at the Naina Devi shrine in the district this morning, police sources here stated.

Official sources while confirming the death toll said that 90 bodies had been sent to the civil hospital at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. A majority of the victims were from Punjab and some even from Chandigarh. At least 30 children were amongst the dead.

According to information at the police district police control here,the stampede occured after a railing leading to the Singh Gate entrance of the shrine gave way under the weight of pilgrims who were waiting their turn to pay obeisance. As the railing collapsed a number of pilgrims including women and children rolled down the hill while others ran here and there, trampling women and children who cried for help.

While some officials maintained that the railing gave way after the stampede, others said that it was the railing which collapsed first and that led to panic amongst the pilgrims who ran helter skelter to save themselves.

Official sources said that the death toll was likely to cross the 100 mark as a number of injured pilgrims are lying trapped in the valley below the shrine.

There were around 500 pilgrims who were lined up outside the Singh Gate entrance of the shrine.Thousands of pilgrims visit Naina Devi everyday but on Sundays the numbers swell.

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