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 in Haridwar on Tuesday.
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.
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.
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.
Sonia condoles Haridwar stampede deaths
Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed her deep shock and sorrow over the tragic stampede deaths in Haridwar on Tuesday and urged authorities to act immediately to provide relief to the injured.
“Sonia Gandhi expressed her deep shock and sorrow on the tragic deaths caused by the stampede in Haridwar. She also conveyed her condolences to the bereaved families and urged the authorities to act immediately in providing relief to the injured,” an AICC release said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
At least 16 people, mostly women, were killed and several others injured in the stampede at an ashram in Chandidweep area in Haridwar, official sources said.
The stampede happened when a large number of people tried to enter the Shantikunj Ashram to take part in a ‘yagna’ as part of the centenary celebrations of the ashram founder Pandit Shreeram Sharma.
Senior administrative and police officials have rushed to the spot.
The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has expressed grief over the loss of lives in a stampede in Haridwar.
Dr Manmohan Singh has sanctioned Rs one lakh for the kin of those killed.
Prime Minister also announced Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured and expresssed grief over the loss of lives.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has also expressed deep shock and sorrow over the tragic stampede.
She urged authorities to act immediately to provide relief to the injured.