July 23, 2024
Home » India: 116 lives lost in devastating stampede at Hathras religious event

India: 116 lives lost in devastating stampede at Hathras religious event


A stampede at a Hindu religious gathering in the Hathras district of northern India has claimed the lives of at least 116 people, including women and children. This horrific incident, one of the worst tragedies of its kind in years, has left the nation in mourning.

The stampede occurred in a village in Hathras district, which is located about 200 km (125 miles) southeast of the national capital, New Delhi. Thousands of devotees had gathered in sweltering late afternoon temperatures to participate in the religious event.

According to Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, the stampede happened when a crowd of devotees started pushing towards the stage to get closer to the preacher, who was descending from the stage. The exact cause of the stampede is still under investigation, but it is believed that overcrowding and the rush of people leaving the venue may have contributed to the tragedy.

Authorities have suggested that wet mud and the scorching heat may have played a role in people losing their footing and others seeking water. Chaitra V., a senior state official, explained that people may have slipped on the wet mud, and the heat could have caused a rush towards the spot where water was available. Eighteen individuals were injured and are currently receiving treatment at local hospitals.

In response to this devastating incident, the police have launched an investigation and have promised to take action against anyone found responsible. It is also being examined whether the gathering exceeded the permitted capacity.

The authorities have emphasized that lapses by the authorities will be thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action will be taken based on the findings of the report, which is expected within 24 hours.

Heartbreaking images captured by news agency ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake, show bodies being loaded onto trucks and laid out in vehicles. Personal belongings, such as purses and bags covered in dust, were found heaped up at the venue, with individuals desperately searching through them to identify their belongings. Mobile phones were similarly piled together, waiting to be claimed by their owners.

Eyewitnesses have described the chaos and confusion that led to the stampede. Suresh Chandra, a witness, explained that with approximately 50,000 people at the gate on the highway, some were going left while others were going right, causing immense confusion that ultimately resulted in the stampede.

Tragically, stampedes and accidents involving large crowds during religious gatherings and pilgrimages have occurred in the past, often attributed to poor crowd management. In 2013, a stampede in central India claimed the lives of 115 people, and in 2008, nearly 250 lost their lives in a similar incident. The most devastating of all was in 2005 when over 340 people were killed during an annual pilgrimage in the state of Maharashtra.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his deep sorrow over the tragedy and announced that the federal government is providing assistance to the state. He has also announced compensation of 200,000 rupees ($2,400) to the families of the deceased and 50,000 rupees to those injured, in an effort to support and provide some relief to the affected families during this difficult time.

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