India: 10 die in Hindu festival-triggered stampede

October 17, 2010 13:14

Another 11 injured; scuffle broke while over 40,000 people stood in line to sacrifice goats at temple.

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india temple riot 311. (photo credit: AP)

PATNA, India — An argument over sacrificing goats during a Hindu festival triggered a stampede that killed 10 people Sunday in a packed temple in northern India, officials said.

More than 40,000 people, many inebriated, had taken their goats to the Tildiha village temple in Bihar state to offer sacrifice and prayers to the goddess Durga on the last day of the Navratri festival.

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As the worshippers lined up before the butcher, a scuffle broke out and some people were trampled, Banka district spokesman Gupdeshwar Kumar said.

"People were vying with each other to get their goats sacrificed first, and they had a verbal duel with the butcher," Kumar said.

Four women and six men died in the stampede, and another 11 were injured, three of them critically, Banka district police director Neelmani said. The injured were being treated in hospitals.

Villager Umesh Kumar, 35, said the temple was so full, "people didn't have any place to walk around ... and there was a commotion when people tried to have their goats sacrificed."

The district spokesman said some 30,000 goats were sacrificed at the temple on Saturday.

The 10-day Navratri festival honors Durga, the Mother Goddess in the Hindu religion.

The village in Banka district is about 120 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Bihar's state capital, Patna.

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