India Crushed: More than 100 killed in religious event, local police say

Reuters

A crowd gathers outside Etah Hospital’s emergency department.


New Delhi
CNN

Clashes at a religious gathering in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh killed more than a hundred people on Tuesday, local police and administrative officials said.

Officials said the incident took place during a prayer meeting known as a satsang in Mughal Karhi village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hadhras district. Village in India’s The most populous state is about 200 kilometers (124 mi) southeast of the capital, New Delhi.

State Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar Singh told reporters that 108 women and 7 children were among the 116 killed. He added that 72 people have been identified so far. At least 18 people were injured.

Local officials suggested that people fell into the underpass due to the rush of people.

Singh told reporters that organizers of Tuesday’s rally had filed an application saying “80,000 people” would attend. However, “more people than expected” showed up.

After the event, according to local tradition, a large number of people “went to touch the feet of (the religious figure) or to collect mud from the site, when the deadly scenes took place. Then people started falling into the nearby open drain. “People started falling into the drain and on top of each other, Singh said.

He accused the organizers of failing to comply with a list of requirements provided by the district. A high-level inquiry has been launched to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and according to local authorities, a police report will be filed against the event organizers for allegedly exceeding the permissible attendance limit.

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“There is a huge lapse on the part of the organisers. They will face severe punishment,” he said.

Survivors spoke of the horrific incident that followed. “People started falling on each other, on each other. The crushed died. The people there pulled them out,” Shakuntala Devi told the Press Trust of India news agency, the Associated Press reported.

The bodies of at least 27 of the dead have been taken to the Eta district mortuary, Shalap Mathur, inspector general of Ambala Range in neighboring district, said, adding that the remaining bodies are in Hadhras.

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Inspector General Mathur added that efforts are being made to provide medical care to the injured and arrangements are being made for post-mortem at various locations.

A video distributed by Reuters showed a crowd gathering outside a local hospital in Eta, where affected families wept for the victims. Medical personnel were seen carrying people on stretchers.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences in a speech to the lower house of India’s two houses, known as the Lok Sabha.

Modi said that the government is engaged in relief and rescue operations and is working in coordination with the state government. “All possible help will be given to the victims,” ​​he said.

Speaking to reporters, Hadhras District Collector Ashish Kumar said the crash occurred when people left an event held to celebrate the Hindu god Shiva.

The district collector said the police gave permission for the private event and officers were “deployed for law and order and security”, but the organizers handled the arrangements inside.

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He also said that a newly constituted high-level committee would conduct an inquiry into the incident.

A New Year attraction In January 2022 At least a dozen people were killed at one of India’s holiest shrines in Jammu, north of the country.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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