|Published : 16 Oct 2016, 10:49:49 | Updated : 16 Oct 2016, 15:12:50|
Stampede in India: death toll rises to 24
The death toll from the stampede in northern India climbed to 24 people, police said.
20 others people were injured in the stampede that occurred as they were crossing a crowded bridge to reach a Hindu religious ceremony.
The stampede took place on the outskirts of Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pradesh state known for its temples.
Organisers were expecting 3,000 devotees at the ceremony, but more than 70,000 thronged the ashram of a local Hindu leader on the banks of the Ganges River, said police officer SK Bhagat.
"We were not prepared for such a large crowd," Raj Bahadur, a spokesman for the organisers said.
Nineteen people were killed on the spot and five others succumbed to their injuries at a hospital, said police officer Daljit Chaudhary.
Four of the 20 injured people were still in serious condition at the hospital, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was deeply saddened by the tragedy.
"I have spoken to officials and asked them to ensure all possible help to those affected," he tweeted.
Deadly stampedes are fairly common during Indian religious festivals, where large crowds gather in small areas with few safety or crowd control measures.
In October 2013, a stampede in Madhya Pradesh state in central India killed more than 110 people, mostly women and children, according to a news agency report.