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At least 89 killed in stampede in India

According to the New York Times, a stampede at a bridge leading to a remote Hindu temple in central India on Sunday killed at least 89 people and injured more than 100, police said.

About a half-million worshipers, by Indian news media estimates, had flocked to the Ratangarh Temple in northern Madhya Pradesh State for a religious festival. A top state official, Anthony J.C. De Sa, told The Hindu, a daily newspaper, that about 25,000 people were on the bridge over the Sindh River, which is 23 feet wide, on Sunday when a section of the bridge’s railing broke, setting off a rumor that the whole bridge was about to give way.

Officials put the number of dead at 89. The toll is expected to rise as many of the victims of the tragedy at Ratangarh temple in Datia district, 350 km north of the state capital Bhopal, were in a critical condition, deputy inspector general, Chambal range, DK Arya said. Divers were looking for survivors and bodies that may have been swept away by the strong current of River Sindh.

Local media said the police used batons to control the crowd, prompting many people to panic. A team of 20 doctors was been sent to help, the media said.

Pilgrims have died due to stampedes on previous occasions.

In February this year, a stampede killed at least 36 Hindu pilgrims, who were part of the world's largest religious festival which attracted some 30 million people.

Officials quickly promised compensation of 150,000 rupees, or about $2,450, for the families of each of those killed. Those with serious injuries will receive 50,000 rupees, or about $820. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a statement expressing condolences.

On this day of festivities, our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families

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Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.

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