116 Killed in Stampede at Religious Gathering in India

July 3, 2024 by No Comments

A tragic stampede occurred at a religious gathering in India on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of over 100 people and leaving numerous others injured. The incident took place during an event led by a Hindu guru known as Bhole Baba, when thousands of attendees rushed to exit a makeshift tent. While the exact cause of the panic remains unclear, local reports suggest that heat and suffocation within the tent may have been contributing factors. Video footage of the aftermath reveals that the structure appears to have collapsed.

According to Prashant Kumar, the Director General of Police in Uttar Pradesh, where the stampede occurred, at least 116 people lost their lives, with a majority being women and children. Senior police officer Shalabh Mathur reported that over 80 individuals sustained injuries and were hospitalized.

“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.

Heartbreaking scenes unfolded at a local hospital, where relatives wailed in distress as bodies of the deceased, covered in white sheets and placed on stretchers, lined the grounds. A bus arriving at the hospital carried additional victims, whose bodies lay on the seats inside.

Tragically, deadly stampedes are a recurring issue around Indian religious festivals, often occurring due to large crowds gathering in limited spaces with inadequate infrastructure and safety measures. Police officer Rajesh Singh indicated that overcrowding was likely a factor at the event, which took place in a village in Hathras district. Initial reports stated that organizers had permission for approximately 5,000 attendees, yet over 15,000 individuals came for the event led by the Hindu preacher, who was formerly a police officer before dedicating himself to religious sermons. This preacher has led similar gatherings for the past two decades.

expressed condolences to the families of those who perished and confirmed that the federal government is collaborating with state authorities to ensure that the injured receive necessary assistance.

Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, described the stampede as “heart-wrenching” in a post on X and stated that authorities are conducting an investigation into the incident.

“Look what happened and how many people have lost their lives. Will anyone be accountable?” Rajesh Kumar Jha, a member of parliament, questioned reporters. He attributed the stampede to a failure of the state and federal governments in managing large crowds, emphasizing that “people will keep on dying” if authorities do not prioritize safety protocols with greater seriousness.

In 2013, a similar tragedy occurred during a popular Hindu festival in Madhya Pradesh, where pilgrims visiting a temple trampled each other amid fears of a bridge collapse. This incident resulted in the deaths of at least 115 individuals, either from being crushed or drowning in the river.

In 2011, a crush at a religious festival in the southern state of Kerala claimed the lives of over 100 people.