Hathras: More than 100 killed in crush

Inspector General of Police Shalabh Mathur has said that at least 116 people have been killed as a result of the crackdown on a religious gathering in northern India.

The incident took place at a satsang (a Hindu religious ceremony) in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh state.

The dead include a large number of women and some children who are yet to be identified.

Survivors described how the devastation occurred when they tried to leave the ceremony in Mughalgarhi village.

It is still not yet clear what caused the crush. Eyewitnesses said that the exit was very narrow and as people were getting out, the dust storm caused chaos and panic, causing many people to be trampled.

An eyewitness said that everything was going well until “all of a sudden I heard screams and before I knew it, people were falling on the other.”

He said: A lot of people were crushed and he couldn’t do anything, also said that he is very lucky to have survived.

“When the sermon ended, everyone started running out,” Shakuntala, a woman, told the Press (News Agency).

“People fell into a drain on the side of the road. They fell on top of each other and were crushed to death.”

At least three children died in the stampede, Chief Medical Officer Umesh Kumar Tripathi from neighboring Ita district told reporters.

A spokesman for a senior police officer in Uttar Pradesh said that “it will take hours to release the final numbers”.

Disturbing photos from the site have been circulating online. Some videos show the injured being taken to hospitals in pick-up trucks, tuk-tuks, and even motorbikes.

“There is such a big accident but not a single senior officer is here,” said a relative of the injured patient. “Where is the management?”

Mr. Ashish Kumar said the venue was overcrowded, adding that a high-level committee had been formed to investigate the incident.

“The main focus of the administration is to provide all possible assistance to the families of the injured and the dead,” Ashish Kumar said.

“The post-mortem proceedings are on and the matter is being probed,” said Satya Prakash, an official in the neighboring district of Eta.

In Hathras, the screams of distraught family members can be heard at the local hospital.

Many people are trying to find their loved ones, many bodies are missing.

There is a shortage of ambulances, each bringing two to three bodies. Hathras is full of despair and pain.

Accidents are often reported at religious events in India, as large crowds congregate in tight spaces with little adherence to safety measures.

In 2018, around 60 people were killed when a train rammed into a crowd celebrating Dussehra, a Hindu festival.

In 2013, 115 people were killed in an attack on a Hindu festival in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

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