NAINA DEVI TEMPLE STAMPEDE: 129 BODIES..
NAINA DEVI TEMPLE STAMPEDE: 129 BODIES IDENTIFIED
Anandpur Sahib August 4:
As many as 129 out of 146 people killed in the stampede at Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh's Bilaspur district have been identified and the bodies handed over to their relatives, officials said on Monday.
"Identity of 129 deceased have been known and their bodies were handed over to their relatives. Efforts are on to identify the remaining 17 bodies," Ropar Deputy Commissioner B Purshartha reporters. At least 146 devotees, including 30 children and 38 women, were killed and more than 50 injured yesterday in a stampede at the temple shrine triggered by rumours of a landslide.
"The Punjab Government is providing all kind of assistance to the relatives of victims for transportation of bodies from Bhai Jaitta civil hospital here," he said. As many as 104 dead were from Punjab. While 58 from Patiala, ten belonged to Sangrur and nine Bathinda. Six dead were from Barnala, eight from Mansa, two each from Ropar and Ferozepur, one each from Muktsar and Ludhiana.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who visited the hospital and the site of the incident, assured that the state government in coordination with the Himachal Pradesh will improve the infrastructure at the shrine to ensure "maximum safety" of the pilgrims. The Himachal Pradesh Government has ordered a commissioner-level inquiry into the incident.
Both the Punjab and Himachal Pradesh Government had already announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh each to the dead and free treatment for the injured. This was the second such incident at the hill shrine as in 1981, as many as 53 pilgrims lost their lives after a similar stampede.