2 women killed in stampede at religious Hindu festival in India

19:37, July 13, 2010      

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Two women were killed and three others injured in a stampede during the religious Hindu festival of Ratha Yatra or holy chariot procession in the eastern Indian state of Orissa's holy town of Puri Tuesday, a senior police official said.

"The stampede took place during pulling of chariots during the Ratha Yatra from Sri Jagannath temple. Thousands of people thronged the religious ceremony. Suddenly a stampede broke out and two women were killed. Three others injured have been admitted to a local hospital," the official said.

A probe has been ordered into the incident, he added.

The 133rd Rath Yatra (holy chariot procession) of Lord Jagannath began Tuesday from Jagannath temple in Jamalpur in the presence of thousands of devotees and robust security arrangements in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, according to tradition, did the symbolic cleaning of road outside the temple, from where the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra pass.

Thousands of devotees joined the procession as it started its journey through the 14-km long route including some communally sensitive areas, in old city.

The yatra, oldest in the state, had devotees lined up alongside the chariots of Lord Jagannath, brother Balram and sister Subhadra.

Tight security arrangements with over 14,000 cops and 4,500 home guard jawans have been deployed across the city.

The yatra will be taken out amidst tight security to prevent any law and order problem. More than 40 senior police officials have been deployed to supervise the smooth passage of the yatra.

The yatra will see participation of 18 decorated elephants, 98 decorated trucks apart from three big decorated raths (chariots) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and Subhadra, which will be pulled by 1,000 devotees.

The main chariots are closely followed by colorfully adorned elephants, trucks, motor vehicles, pilgrims on foot, acrobats and gymnasts.

Four Bomb Disposal Squads (BDS), nine Quick Response Teams ( QRTs), and 27 mobile Police Control Room (PCR) vans have also been deployed for the rathyatra in the city.

In the eastern state of Orissa too, the grand Rath Yatra began Tuesday afternoon. Over 5,000 security men have been deployed in the city for the yatra.

Nearly a million people are expected to visit the holy city to take part in the grand festival that celebrates the week-long journey of the deities from the main temple to the Shree Gundicha Temple.

Source: Xinhua


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