Temple stampede in Jodhpur kills 147

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Jodhpur, Sep 30 (UNI) At least 147 people were killed and more than 150 injured in a stampede during 'Navratra Sthapana' ceremony at the ancient Chamunda Mata Temple in Mehrangarh fort here this morning.

Jodhpur Divisional Commissioner Kiran Soni Gupta said about 15 to 20 people died on the spot while others succumbed later either on the way to hospitals or while being treated.

Barring a few women and children the deceased were mostly men, in the age group of 18 to 30.

Unofficial reports put toll at 196. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje who rushed here this afternoon, however, reiterated that the toll was at 147.

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 condition of two was stated to be critical, she said.

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

Chief Minister Raje has ordered judicial probe into the incident by a retired judge of the Rajasthan High Court. The administrative probe has also been ordered which will be conducted by an officer of Additional Chief Secretary.

Governor Shilendra Kumar Singh, Chief Minister Raje, AUCC General Secretary and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and several dignitaries expressed grief over heavy loss of lives in the incident.

Rajasthan Government also announced an exgratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of each deceased, Rs 50,000 to seriously injured and Rs 5,000 to 10,000 to other injured.

Several other organisations, including Shyam Telelink Limited(STL) and SBBJ have also provide exgratia to the victims.

Eds rest pick up suitably from the earlier series.

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