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A stampede at a religious event in India has killed at least 105 people

GreenWatch Desk Festivals 2024-07-02, 10:11pm

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A stampede among thousands of people at a religious gathering in northern India has killed at least 105 and left scores injured, officials said Tuesday, with many women and children among the dead.

Attendees had rushed to leave the makeshift tent following an event with Hindu figure Bhole Baba, local media reported. They cited authorities who said heat and suffocation inside could have been a factor. Video of the aftermath showed the structure appeared to have collapsed. Women wailed over the dead.
Senior police officer Shalabh Mathur in Uttar Pradesh state confirmed that 105 people had died while 84 others were injured and admitted to hospitals.
Deadly stampedes are relatively common around Indian religious festivals, where large crowds gather in small areas with shoddy infrastructure and few safety measures, reports UNB.
Police officer Rajesh Singh said there was likely overcrowding in the event in a village in Hathras district about 350 kilometers (220 miles) southwest of the state capital, Lucknow.
Initial reports suggested that over 15,000 people had gathered for the event, which had permission to host about 5,000.
“People started falling one upon another, one upon another. Those who were crushed died. People there pulled them out,” witness Shakuntala Devi told the Press Trust of India news agency.
Bodies were brought to hospitals and morgues by trucks and private vehicles, government official Matadin Saroj said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the families of the dead and said the federal government was working with state authorities to ensure the injured received help.
Uttar Pradesh's chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, called the stampede "extremely sad and heart-wrenching” in a post on social media platform X. He said authorities were investigating the cause.
In 2013, pilgrims visiting a temple for a popular Hindu festival in central Madhya Pradesh state trampled each other amid fears that a bridge would collapse. At least 115 were crushed to death or died in the river.
In 2011, more than 100 Hindu devotees died in a crush at a religious festival in the southern state of Kerala.