IDUKKI, India – A stampede of pilgrims returning from one of India’s most popular Hindu festivals killed 147 people and injured 55 others in southern India Friday night, police said.
The stampede was set off when a group of pilgrims in a jeep drove into a crowd of worshippers walking along a narrow path in a hilly forest as they returned from offering prayers at the Sabarimala shrine in the state of Kerala, said local police official Sanjay Kumar.
Deadly stampedes are relatively common at temples in India, where large crowds — sometimes hundreds of thousands of people — gather in tiny areas with no safety measures or crowd control.
In March, 63 people were killed when poor villagers scrambled for free food and clothing being given away at a ceremony at a temple in Uttar Pradesh. In 2008, more than 145 people died in a stampede at a remote Hindu temple at the foothills of the Himalayas.