At least 60 dead in stampede at India religious event

Biswajeet Banerjee |

A religious gathering in northern India has been rocked by a deadly stampede.
A religious gathering in northern India has been rocked by a deadly stampede.

At least 60 people are dead and scores are injured after a stampede at a religious gathering of thousands of people in northern India, officials say.

More than 150 people were admitted to hospitals after the crush in a village in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, medical official Umesh Tripathi said, adding the death toll could still rise.

Government official Ashish Kumar told The Associated Press at least 60 bodies had reached mortuaries in the district. 

The stampede occurred as attendees rushed to leave following an event with a religious leader named Bhole Baba, local media reported.

Police officer Rajesh Singh said overcrowding may have been a factor. Initial reports suggested more than 15,000 people had gathered for the event, which had permission to host about 5000.

One survivor, Jyoti, who goes only by her first name, told local media the stampede happened quickly as soon as the event ended. 

“Everyone was in a rush to leave … there was no way out and people were falling on each other,” she said. 

Bodies were being brought to hospitals and morgues by trucks and private vehicles, government official Matadin Saroj said. 

The stampede took place about 350km southwest of state capital Lucknow.

Deadly stampedes are relatively common during Indian religious festivals, where large crowds gather in small areas with few safety measures.