Stampede at religious event in India kills more than 100 people, almost all of them women

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At slightest 116 people, each but 1 of them women and children, were killed successful a stampede astatine a belief arena successful bluish India, authorities said. 

Hundreds of thousands of group had gathered astatine nan Tuesday event, which was held amid sweltering power successful a makeshift shelter successful nan Hathras territory of Uttar Pradesh state, astir 125 miles southeast of nan Indian capital, New Delhi. 

The stampede began astatine nan extremity of nan arena erstwhile a crowd of devotees rushed to touch nan Hindu preacher hosting it arsenic he near nan stage, nan state’s main minister, Yogi Adityanath, said precocious Tuesday successful a video posted connected X.

Adityanath announced compensation of $2,400 each for nan families of nan deceased and $600 for those critically injured. 

“The cardinal authorities will analyse each spot of this tragic accident,” he said. “Whether this was an mishap aliases a conspiracy will besides beryllium investigated.”

Videos from nan tract showed dozens of bodies laying connected nan crushed extracurricular a adjacent hospital, arsenic much were piled into trucks and ambulances. Relatives collapsed down arsenic they identified nan bodies, immoderate of which had been transported connected seats successful section buses.

Almost each of nan 116 dormant were women, isolated from for 7 children and 1 man, nan state’s main secretary, Manoj Kumar Singh, told reporters late Tuesday. It was not clear really galore much had been injured.

Local constabulary said they had made crowd power arrangements for 80,000 attendees arsenic requested by nan organizers, Singh said. But nan venue was flooded pinch arsenic galore arsenic 3 times that number, section media reported.

Police person been accused successful nan past of making inadequate information arrangements for akin events.

“People started falling 1 upon another, 1 upon another. Those who were crushed died. People location pulled them out,” witnesser Shakuntala Devi told nan Press Trust of India news agency.

 India Religion belief stampede aftermathThe tract of a stampede successful Hathras, India, that killed much than 100 group connected Tuesday.Arun Sankar / AFP - Getty Images

The disproportionate number of women and children killed is accordant pinch what often happens successful a stampede, said Milad Haghani, a elder teacher of municipality mobility, nationalist information and disaster consequence astatine nan University of New South Wales successful Australia.

“If you are shorter, aliases person a smaller assemblage weight aliases size, you are astatine a higher consequence of suffocation,” he said successful an question and reply Wednesday. “And that is precisely reflected here.”

Haghani said successful immoderate ways nan stampede was worse than past month’s Hajj successful Saudi Arabia, during which much than 1,300 group died of heat-related reasons retired of millions of pilgrims walking to nan kingdom’s Islamic beatified sites.

“In position of nan comparative complaint of mortality, this was overmuch worse,” he said.

Deadly stampedes are reasonably communal successful India, nan world’s astir populous nation, wherever belief gatherings tin pull hundreds of thousands of people.

“Even nan axenic engagement of constabulary wouldn’t person prevented this,” Haghani said.

“The arena needed to person due readying and management,” he added.

Devotees often unreserved to get nan blessings of nan preacher aliases nan leader astatine Indian belief events, and Haghani said organizers should person anticipated that.

“That’s a lawsuit of negligence,” he said. “In sporting events, for example, you person consequence assessments and guidelines, whereas here, nan preacher could conscionable propulsion disconnected a gathering of this standard without implementing specified measures.”

In 2022, astatine slightest 12 group were killed astatine nan Vaishno Devi temple successful Jammu and Kashmir aft a crowd tried to walk done a constrictive entrance. A decade earlier, 115 group were killed successful a stampede successful nan Indian authorities of Madhya Pradesh aft hundreds of thousands of group gathered to observe nan Navratri festival.

In a tribunal filing aft nan stampede connected Tuesday, a lawyer urged India’s apical tribunal to designate an master committee to “lay down guidelines to nan authorities truthful that specified incident should not return spot successful future.”

“In nan past, we person seen specified benignant of incidents,” nan lawyer, Vishal Tiwari, told nan Press Trust of India. “But nan authorities and authorities person not learned from those incidents.”

Mithil Aggarwal

Mithil Aggarwal is simply a Hong Kong-based reporter/producer for NBC News.

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