7 dead, 8 injured as truck rams into crowd in India

NEW DELHI (AFP) - At least seven people have been killed and eight more injured after a truck rammed into a crowd near a busy Hindu temple in central India, police said on Monday (Oct 10).

Hundreds of worshippers had gathered at the Banjari temple in Madhya Pradesh state to celebrate the ongoing Durga Puja festival, when the truck driver apparently lost control of his vehicle and ploughed into the crowd.

"Seven people are dead and eight others are in hospital," local policeman Shivraj Singh said.

Officer Singh said the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled after the accident, while his assistant was caught by the crowd and handed over to police.

Hindu temples across India are packed with huge crowds of devotees as the country comes to the end of the annual Durga Puja festival.

Durga is famed in Hindu mythology for riding a lion and slaying the demon king Mashiasura, who had conquered the heavens. The festival marks the triumph of good over evil.

Fatal traffic accidents are common in India, which has some of the world's deadliest roads with more than 200,000 fatalities annually, according to the World Health Organisation.