Toll in Haridwar stampede climbs to 20



Haridwar: With the recovery of four more bodies, the death toll in the stampede during a religious ceremony near Har-ki-Pauri ghat on Wednesday climbed to 20.

In a related development, the authorities of Shantikunj Ashram where the ceremony was taking place ended the birth centenary celebrations of their founder Acharya Shreeram Sharma in compliance with a state government directive.

SDM Haridwar Harbir Singh said a total of 20 bodies have been recovered from the site.

The stampede broke out yesterday when people tried to enter the 'yajnashala'(place of sacred fire ceremony) at Chandidweep Ghat for the celebrations.

Chief Minister B C Khanduri, who visited the stampede site, had yesterday asked Shantikunj Ashram to curtail the five-day function, which began on November 6.

Accordingly, a Shanti yajna was performed this morning and the culmination of the celebration was announced after observing silence by the devotees.

Khanduri along with his ministers also observed two minute silence at his official residence during the state foundation day function which was celebrated with a book release.

All tents erected for the function have been dismantled by Shantikunj authorities this morning. The whole Chandidweep area has been cordoned off by police, officials said.

Most of the followers have packed up their belonging in the morning and left for their homes. A large number of followers were seen proceeding toward railway and bus stations.

PTI