Varanasi: In a tragic incident, at least 19 persons were killed and another 50 were left injured in a stampede that took place at Rajghat bridge between Varanasi and Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.
A massive crowd had gathered to witness Baba Jai Gurudev's Sabha in the holy city on Saturday afternoon.
The stampede took place when thousands of people had turned up at a religious congregation organised by disciples of the late spiritual leader Jai Gurudev.
The followers of Jai Gurudev were on their way to Domri village on the banks of Ganga to take part in the two-day camp.
Another report suggests that while the city administration had granted permission for the crowd of only 3,000 people to attend the event, an official said that close to 70,000 people were present at the event.
People in large numbers were brought for the camp by the organisers who had taken the permission only for two to three thousand devotees.
One person died due to suffocation on the bridge because of the surging crowd on the narrow Ganga bridge leading to rumours which resulted in the stampede, ADG law and order Daljit Chaudhary said.
Spokesman of Jai Gurudev Sansthan Raj Bahadur said the devotees were proceeding towards the camp, but police started sending them back though they kept on thronging the bridge.
This led to rumours that the bridge ahead has collapsed leading to stampede, Raj Bahadur said, alleging there was a serious lapse on the part of the administration.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the MP from Varanasi, expressed anguish over the incident and asked senior officials to take stock of the situation. He also announced a solatium of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs each to next of kin of those killed and free treatment to the injured, who have been admitted to different hospitals in Varanasi and Chandauli, IG (Law and Order) Hariom Sharma said.