Haridwar: At least 16 people, mostly women, were killed and several others injured in a stampede during a religious ceremony attended by tens of thousands of devotees near Har Ki Pauri on Tuesday in Haridwar.
The stampede occurred when the people tried to enter the yajnashala at Chandidweep Ghat on the banks of Ganga for the centenary celebrations of acharya Pt Shriram Sharma, the founder of Shatikunj Ashram.
A frame taken from a news channel shows an injured woman being carried by volunteers into a hospital in Haridwar, 8 Nov, (AFP)
SDM Haridwar Harbir Singh said 16 people were killed in the stampede.
“It appears that suffocation in the area led to the stampede but exact cause will only come out after an inquiry,” he said.
As the stampede broke out, the people ran helter-skelter with women and children falling on the ground.
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was also holding ‘yajna´ at the ashram when the stampede broke out.
An inconsolable relative of one of the victims after a stampede during Gayatri Mahakumbh in Haridwar (PTI)
Police sources said nearly two lakh people from home and abroad had gathered for the ceremony, which is considered to be biggest after the Kumbh mela.
Police officials blamed the Shantikunj Ashram authorities for not involving the police and district administration in the management of the ceremony where lakhs of people had gathered during the past few days.