100 pilgrims killed in stampede at Indian festival


A stampede of pilgrims returning from one of India’s most popular Hindu festivals killed more than 100 people and injured 25 others 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 forest path as they returned from offering prayers at the hilltop Sabarimala shrine in the state of Kerala in southern India, said local police official Sanjay Kumar.

The annual two-month festival attracts millions of worshippers to the remote temple to the Hindu deity Ayyappan. The ceremony Friday marked the end of the festival, and an estimated 150,000 devotees were thought to have taken the narrow path out of the densely forested hills where the stampede took place.

Millions of devotees make the pilgrimage each year and nearly 2,000 police officers were deployed near the shrine to prevent such accidents from happening,