Causality may increase as many injured are in critical condition
TIA NEWS /
At least 24 people, mostly women, were killed and many injured in a stampede at a religious ceremony in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. Causality may increase further because some of the injured are in critical condition.
The stampede broke out when thousands of devotees of a religious leader tried to cross a bridge at once.
Followers of Jai Gurudev, the leader of a local sect, were moving in a procession and far too many were on the narrow roads to the Rajghat bridge than sanctioned, say officials.
One man died of suffocation because of the surging crowds, which led to a commotion. Rumours that the bridge had collapsed fueled more chaos, said police chief Javed Ahmed.
“They had sought permission for 5,000 persons but many more people reached and joined the procession. We are investigating crowd management and will take action against those responsible,” Mr Ahmed said.
According to police, the incident occurred this afternoon when thousands of followers of Jai Guru Dev sect assembled in Varanasi and they were going to domri village ashram of jaigurudev in Ramnagar police station area to take part in a conglomeration there.
Initial report indicates that sect followers assembled in unexpected numbers and when they were passing through small Ramnagar Bridge one person died on way, probably due to suffocation.
Police officer said, possibly this was the immediate cause of stampede. Relief and rescue operations are on. Several government agencies including Senior administrative and Police officers of Varanasi and Chandulai districts have been engaged in relief works. According to reports, crowed is being dispersed from the accident site to normalize the situation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to ensure all possible help to those affected due to the stampede in Varanasi. Mr. Modi spoke to state government officials about the incident. In a tweet, he condoled the loss of lives and prayed for speedy recover of injured.
The Prime Minister has announced ex-gratia of two lakh rupees each to next of kin of those killed in the incident and 50 thousand rupees to the injured.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to Commissioner of Varanasi who apprised him of the situation. Congress President Sonia Gandhi also condoled the death.