Death toll in Indian temple stampede rises

The death toll from a deadly stampede at a Hindu temple in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan has risen to 194, up by 45 from a previous estimate, officials said on Wednesday.

”All the casualties are now accounted for and the toll is 194 and not what was announced yesterday [Tuesday],” police Inspector General Rajiv Dasot said in Jodhpur, where the stampede took place early on Tuesday.

The disaster occurred after more than 25 000 worshippers clambered to reach the hill-top shrine to Hindu warrior goddess Chamunda.

Dasot said the toll rose after police trawled private hospitals and cremation grounds where people had carted injured or killed relatives after the stampede in Jodhpur’s 15th-century Chamunda Devi temple.

”There were some confusion but that’s now been sorted out,” Dasot added.

Scores more were injured in the disaster, which came at the start of Navaratri, a nine-day Hindu festival that is one of the most important in the Hindu calendar and when crowds are particularly large.

The temple reopened to devotees on Wednesday but not more than 200 Hindus were seen at the complex.

”Jodhpur is in mourning and people are attending funerals of their loved ones,” said Reeta Inani,” a regular visitor to the temple, which is built inside the Mehrangarh Fort, a major tourism spot in Jodhpur.

Meanwhile, at least 15 people were wounded when three bombs exploded in a town in India’s remote north-east on Wednesday, police said.

”Right now our men are busy evacuating the injured to hospitals,” an officer at the police control room in Agartala said by phone.

A wave of bomb attacks has hit India in recent months, killing more than 125 people. Police have blamed most of those attacks on Muslim militants. — AFP, Reuters

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