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Published On: Sat, Oct 15th, 2016

24 Dead In Stampede At Varanasi During Religious Event

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34e649ae0157053895d432aa228f1365VARANASI: At least 24 people were killed and many were injured in a stampede at a religious gathering on the outskirts of Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi on Saturday. The stampede broke out when thousands of devotees of a religious leader tried to cross a bridge at once.

The incident occurred when thousands of followers of Jai Guru Dev sect had assembled in Varanasi and going to sect ashram in Domri village of Ramnagar area of the district to take part in a conglomeration and camp there. T

he leader of a sect, were moving in a procession towards his ashram and far too many were near the iron Rajghat bridge, say officials. Instead of 4,000 people expected by the administration, around 50,000 allegedly showed up.

A man died of suffocation because of the surging crowds, which led to panic. Rumours that the bridge had collapsed fueled more chaos, said police chief Javeed Ahmed.”We are investigating crowd management and will take action against those responsible,” Mr Ahmed said.

The sect claims that it had warned the police more people would turn up.”There was a lot of chaos, all of us were pushed and shoved. Many people have died including my mother,” said a witness quoted by AFP.

Jai Gurudev, who died in 2012, is among several self-styled “godmen” who enjoy cult-like following among thousands of followers. The sect made headlines earlier this year when 24 people including two police officers were killed in violence at a park where devotees had been squatting for two years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who represents Varanasi in parliament, said he had asked officials to ensure all possible help. He is in Goa for a meeting of BRICS nations.

TV visuals showed a pile of clothing and slippers as policemen and rescuers worked. Traffic crawled for hours near the area because of a massive jam at the Rajghat bridge, one of the main connections in the city. PM Modi has announced Rs. 2 lakh and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Rs. 5 lakh for the families of the dead.

U P  Chief MinisterAkhilesh Yadav has ordered magistrate inquiry of the incident. The Divisional Commissioner of Varanasi will conduct the inquiry.

The state police ADG (Law and order) Daljit Chaudhary said that the initial reports indicate that due to heavy rush of people on narrow Ramnagar bridge one person died probably due to suffocation and that became cause of stampede.

State government will provide additional assistance of Rs. five lakh through “samajwadi kisan and sarvahit pension scheme to the dependents of victims.Under the same scheme, the injured will also receive Rs. 2.50 lakh as financial assistance.

The chief minister also instructed to concerned authorities to provide Rs. one lakh extra assistance to all eligible injureds for required artificial organs. The Chief Ministerhas ordered district administration to ensure free treatment for all those injured.

Meanwhile, 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.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also condoled the death.

Accordunf to the  reports, several reports are coming for the reason of this tragic incident .Thousands of Followers of the ashram was gathered in Varanasi city from morning and traffic jam was being reported from congested streets of Varanasi during peak hours.

But administration certainly failed to review the seriousness of huge gathering therefore no adequate traffic and crowed management was placed by the authorities. Later, the narrow passage at the Rajghat Bridge becomes epic center of the incident.

Initially one senior official said that a person died due to suffocation was cause of panic while some eyewitness said that police improper action and rumor spread that bridge about to collapse was the root of stampede.

Though the exact reason will be known after thorough and impartial investigation but the tragic incident shows lack of coordination among government agencies and insensitivity of organizers who have also no proper estimation of peoples gathering.

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