147 dead in temple stampede in Jodhpur, PM condoles incident

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Jodhpur, Sep 30 (UNI) Tragedy struck on the first day of Navratras when 147 people were crushed to death in a stampede during the Navratra Sthapana ceremony at the ancient Chamunda Mata Temple in the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur this morning.

Jodhpur Divisional Commisioner Kiran Soni Gupta said more than 150 others were injured in the incident.

About 15 to 20 people died on the spot while others succumbed later either on the way to hospitals or at the hospitals. Barring a few women and children, the deceased were mostly men in the age group of 18 to 30.

The injured were rushed to Mathura Das Mathur Hospital, Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Kamla Nehru Hospital and about half a dozen other private hospitals, Ms Gupta said.

Fifty-five of the injured were still being treated at various hospitals where conditions of two was stated to be critical, she said.

Over 100 injured were discharged after first aid, official sources said.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil condoled the loss of lives in the incident and said in a statement that she was praying for the early recovery of those injured in today's tragedy.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is in Paris to attend a bilateral meeting with French President also expressed shock and grief at the death of large number of devotees.

In a statement here, Dr Singh conveyed his sympathy and condolences to the bereaved families.

Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari also expressed shock and grief over the sad incident and conveyed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Union Territory Administrator, General (Retd.) S F Rodrigues also expressed profound grief over the colossal loss of lives and injuries to many. He offered all assistance to his Rajasthan counterpart in the treatment of those injured in Chandigarh hospitals.

A great role was played by the taxi drivers in the relief operations as they volunteered their vehicles to transport the victims to the hospitals.

Various organisations also came forward to assist the administration in dealing with the situation.

State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur and a Sojat based NGO have even announced relief for the victims.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also rushed to Jodhpur to see the injured at the hospitals and also announced an exgratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of the kin of each deceased, Rs 50,000 to seriously injured and Rs 5000 to 10,000 to others.

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