Stampede at Religious Gathering in Northern India Kills at Least 50

At least 50 people were killed and dozens more injured in a stampede during a religious event in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where thousands of devotees had gathered.

Ashish Kumar, the district magistrate in Hathras, the city in western Uttar Pradesh where the incident took place, told reporters at the site that most of the dead so far were women and children who appeared to have suffocated in a crush to leave the venue. Local officials suggested that heat and overcrowding had sparked a panic.

“Toward the end of congregation, when devotees were leaving, this incident took place because of very high humidity,” Mr. Kumar said.

Umesh Kumar Tripathi, a medical officer in the neighboring district of Etah, in western Uttar Pradesh, said more victims were being brought to other hospitals.

“The death toll may rise,” Mr. Tripathi said.

Unverified videos on social media showed a large number of dead bodies, mostly women, in the courtyard of what looks like a government building.

The event, a large Hindu prayer meeting, was organized by a guru locally known as Bhole Baba who has been leading such gatherings for more than two decades. The commotion took place at the end of the meeting.

In India, deadly stampedes during religious pilgrimages are common because of poor enforcement of public safety measures. In recent years, the authorities have increased surveillance of large religious gatherings by deploying more police officers and using drones.

Hari Kumar and Mujib Mashal contributed reporting.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



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