Death at site of devotion (Timeline)

New Delhi, Sep 24: At least nine people died of suffocation and nearly 120 others fainted at a prayer hall in Deoghar district of Jharkhand Monday when tens of thousands of people gathered at an ashram on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Thakur Anukul Chand.

Just the previous day, Sunday, two women died when massive crowds thronged the Radha Rani temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district. While one woman died of a heart attack, another slipped down the stairs to her death. Thousands of devotees had gathered at Barsana village in Mathura district on the birthday of Radha Rani, celebrated as Radha-Ashtami in Mathura and Vrindavan, the “leelabhoomi” (playground) of lord Sri Krishna and his companion Radha.

Mishaps at religious places have taken a huge toll in India. Here is a list of other such incidents in the past decade:

Sep 2, 2012: Two pilgrims died and six were injured in a stampede at Bihar’s Nalanda district after hundreds of pilgrims tried to reach a spring at Rajgir, about 90 km from Patna.

Nov 8, 2011: At a religious event in Haridwar, Uttar Pradesh, 16 people were killed in a stampede as tens of thousands packed the banks of the Ganges.

Jan 14, 2011: At least 102 devotees were killed and 50 injured in a stampede at Pulmedu in Idukki district, Kerala near the famous hill-top shrine of Sabarimala, where they had gathered to watch the celestial “Makarajyothi” (an astronomical phenomenon that marks the winter solstice). Most of the pilgrims died of severe internal injuries after being trampled upon by the panicked crowd.

March 4, 2010: During distribution of prasad at Kripaluji Maharaj ashram in Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, 63 people were killed and 15 injured.

Jan 3, 2008: Five people were killed in a stampede at Durga Malleswara temple in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

July 2008: In the annual Jagannath yatra (procession) in Puri, Odisha, six people were killed and 12 injured.

Sep 30, 2008: Rumours of a bomb blast caused a stampede at Chamunda Devi temple in Rajasthan, Jodhpur. At least 250 devotees were killed and 60 injured.

Aug 3, 2008: Heavy rain caused a landslide, and a railing wall collapsed at Naina Devi Temple in Himachal Pradesh. Panic-stricken devotees rushed downhill and caused a stampede, leaving 160 people dead and 230 injured.

March 27, 2008: A stampede in a temple in Karila village of Madhya Pradesh left eight devotees dead and 10 critically injured.

October 2007: A religious gathering saw 11 people killed in a tragedy at a temple in Pawagah, Gujarat.

November 2006: Four elderly people unable to push through the crowds were trampled to death in Jagannath temple, Puri, Odisha.

Jan 26, 2005: Thousands of devotees thronging Mandhar Devi temple, Maharashtra, panicked after sparks flew from an electrical short circuit in the wiring. The crowds rushed to a narrow path leading to the temple, and a stampede resulted. As people tripped and fell over each other, 350 died; over 200 were injured.

August 2003: In Nashik, Maharashtra, 40 pilgrims were killed and 125 injured during a stampede at the Kumbh Mela.

IANS