At least 19 persons, including 14 women, were killed and over 60 others, injured in a stampede during a religious procession in Varanasi on Saturday, police said.
The stampede occurred at around 1.30 p.m. at the Rajghat bridge in the Ramnagar area, as thousands of people, who had turned up at a religious congregation organised by disciples of the late spiritual leader Jai Gurudev, took out a procession.
Ramanagar police station incharge Anil Kumar Singh said that 19 people were killed in the stampede and over 60 injured.
Police attributed the stampede to the “impatience” among the participants due to the prevailing heat and humidity, and also noted that while the organisers had sought permission for presence of around 3,000 people, nearly 80,000 had turned up.
Varanasi’s Senior Superintendent of Police, Akash Kulhari said: “The participants were feeling uncomfortable in the heat due to which the stampede might have occurred.”
He said that as the incident spot was on the district boundary with Chandauli, police from both areas had reached the spot for rescue and relief operations.
An officer at the spot said that they were focussing on relief and rescue operations and “a probe will be ordered later to ascertain the exact cause of the tragedy”.