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Eighty nine people, including 31 women and 17 children, and over 100 injured in a stampede on Sunday near a temple at Ratangarh in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district caused by rumours that a bridge they were crossing was about to collapse.
"89 people were killed in the stampede on the bridge
over Sindh river leading to the temple at Ratangarh, where
lakhs of devotees had congregated, following rumours by some
unidentified persons that it was collapsing," Deputy Inspector
General (DIG) of Police, Chambal Range, D K Arya told PTI.
The mishap occurred when a large number of devotees arrived from Datia and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh at the Durga temple at Ratangarh, about 60 kms from the district headquarters, Arya said.
Over 100 people have been injured in the mishap and they have been admitted in nearby hospitals, he said.
Meanwhile, police resorted to mild lathicharge to control an angry crowd which pelted stones at the cops.
Unconfirmed reports said that the stampede took place as some people were trying to jump the queue and police used batons to control them
A sub divisional police officer suffered serious injuries after being hit by stones, the DIG said, adding that some other policemen were also injured.
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as anxious relatives searced for their loved ones from the large number of bodies that lay on the bridge.
The irate crowd, protesting over the incident, pelted stones and clashed with the cops following which police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse them.
Amid the chaos, police and local volunteers had a tough time to bring the situation under control.
The state government has ordered a judicial probe into the incident and with the approval of the State Election Commission, has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh to the kin of those killed in the stampede.
The government also announced an assistance of Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 each for those who suffered minor injuries in the mishap.
MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed grief over the tragedy. In a statement, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and anguish over the unfortunate turnout of events this morning.