Fatal faith: stampedes at pilgrimages

A look at the number of lives lost in stampedes during pilgrimages in India over the last decade.

September 24, 2015 09:58 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 04:11 pm IST

Over 700 pilgrims were killed and 863 were injured on Thursday in a crush at Mina, outside the Muslim holy city of Makkah, where some two million people are performing the annual haj pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia's civil defence authority said.

The pilgrimage, the world's largest annual gathering of people, has been the scene of deadly disasters in the past, including stampedes, tent fires and riots.

Here, were take a look at some of the stampedes at pilgrimages and religious festivals in India.

Major stampedes at pilgrimages in India over the last decade

2005

About 300 people, mostly women and children, were killed in a stampede on the narrow road leading to the Kalubai temple in Mandradevi, 18 km from Wai in Maharashtra's Satara district.

300

dead

--

injured

2008

A slender trail leading to the famous hilltop Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh saw a stampede triggering due to rumours of a landslip uphill, as terrified people started running down.

146

dead

230

injured

The Chamunda Devi temple is on a hillock adjoining the Mehrangarh Fort. The victims were either trampled to death or had died of suffocation.

200+

dead

400+

injured

2011

The tragedy had occurred around 9 pm when pilgrims were returning after witnessing the ‘Makarajyothi’ from the grassland area (Pulmedu), about 12 km from Sabarimala.

102

dead

100+

injured

2013

Those caught in the stampede at the Allahabad railway station during the Kumbh Mela, blamed it on police action, mismanagement and lack of immediate relief.

36

dead

39

injured

The stampede broke out on a bridge near the Ratangarh Mata temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia district, due to a rumour that a section of the bridge had collapsed.

115

dead

110+

injured

2015

The tragedy occurred when thousands of pilgrims who were kept back while VIPs performed their pujas, were suddenly let out to the bathing ghat. It exposed the failure of the crowd management systems.

27

dead

36

injured

>Pilgrims in peril

Many of the world's deadliest stampedes occur in India. Yet, few lessons have been learnt since the 1954 Allahabad stampede.

>'Take precaution to prevent a repeat'

The common thread running through every such tragedy is the utter failure of the authorities to learn any lesson.

>Sabarimala learns from deadly stampedes

Sabarimala has witnessed two major stampedes, claiming a total of 155 lives in the past 14 years.

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