VARANASI, India, Oct. 15 (UPI) — Police personnel (in brown unifroms) and people gather near the site of a stampede at the Rajghat bridge, near Varanasi, India, on Saturday. According to reports, at least 15 people were killed and some 50 others injured in a stampede that happened when scores of people gathered for a religious event near the site. Photo by EPA/STR
An estimated hundred thousand followers of religious leader Jai Gurudev were attempting to cross a bridge in their journey to a two-day camp in the village of Domri.
Gurudev’s spokesman, Raj Bahadur, said people were making their way across the bridge when police started sending them back to the other side, which caused a bottleneck on the bridge.
“We were not prepared for such a large crowd,” Bahadur said.
The event’s organizers were only granted permission to host a gathering of 3,000 instead of the 100,000 who showed up.
“Deeply saddened by the loss of lives in the stampede in Varanasi,” he said. “Condolences to the bereaved families. Prayers with those injured.”
He also pledged to help all those affected.
“I have spoken to officials & asked them to ensure all possible help to those affected due to the stampede in Varanasi,” Modi said.