Nineteen people were killed and 60 injured in a stampede at Rajghat bridge on the border of Varanasi and Chandauli where a large number of people had gathered for a religious event this afternoon.
The incident took place when thousands of followers of religious leader Jai Gurudev were on their way to Domri village on the banks of the Ganga to take part in the two-day camp, police said.
Nineteen people including women were killed, CMO, Varanasi, V V Singh said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the MP from Varanasi, expressed anguish over the incident and asked senior officials to take stock of the situation. He also announced a solatium of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs each to next of kin of those killed and free treatment to the injured, who have been admitted to different hospitals in Varanasi and Chandauli, IG (Law and Order) Hariom Sharma said.
People in large numbers were brought for the camp by the organisers who had taken the permission only for two to three thousand devotees.
One person died due to suffocation on the bridge because of the surging crowd on the narrow Ganga bridge leading to rumours which resulted in the stampede, ADG law and order Daljit Chaudhary said.
Spokesman of Jai Gurudev Sansthan Raj Bahadur said the devotees were proceeding towards the camp, but police started sending them back though they kept on thronging the bridge.
This led to rumours that the bridge ahead has collapsed leading to stampede, Raj Bahadur said, alleging there was a serious lapse on the part of the administration.
Senior police and administration officials of Varansi and Chandauli have rushed to the spot to carry out relief and rescue operations.
Sharma said an inquiry will be instituted to ascertain if any lapses led to the incident.
Home Secretary S K Raghuvanshi and ADG (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary have rushed to monitor the rescue work, officials said in Lucknow.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)