BHOPAL, India (AFP) - A stampede on a bridge outside a Hindu temple killed at least 60 people in India on Sunday and dozens more may have died after they leapt into thewater below, police said.
“Sixty people are confirmed killed and the figure could reach 100,” local Deputy Police Inspector General D.K. Arya told AFP.
“More than 100 others have been injured” in the disaster in the Datia district of central Madhya Pradesh state, he added.
Arya said the stampede was triggered by rumours that it might collapse after being hit by a heavy vehicle.
“There were rumours that the bridge could collapse after the tractor hit it,” he said.
“Many people are feared to have fallen into the river and are unaccounted for.”
Hindus are celebrating the end of the Navaratri festival, dedicated to the worship of the Hindu god Durga, which draws millions of worshippers to temples especially in northern India.
India has a long history of deadly stampedes at religious festivals, with at 36 people trampled to death back in February as pilgrims headed home from the Kumbh Mela religious festival on the banks of the river Ganges.
Some 102 Hindu devotees were killed in a stampede in January 2011 in the state of Kerala while 224 pilgrims died in September 2008 as thousands of worshippers rushed to reach a 15th-century hill-top temple in the northern town of Jodhpur.