Stampede at religious gathering in northern India kills at least 116

Stampede at religious gathering in northern India kills at least 116

A stampede at a religious gathering of thousands in northern India has killed at least 116 people and left dozens injured.

According to local media, the crush happened when attendees rushed to leave a makeshift tent following an event with Hindu leader, Bhole Baba.

Authorities reportedly said heat and suffocation inside could have been a factor in the sudden stampede. In video footage of the aftermath, the structure appeared to have collapsed.

Local police officer Rajesh Singh said there was likely overcrowding in the event which took place in a village in the Hathras district.

Initial reports suggested that over 15,000 people had gathered for the event, which only had permission to host about 5,000.

Bodies were being brought to hospitals and morgues by trucks and private vehicles, government official Matadin Saroj said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to those affected, saying “I wish a speedy recovery to all the injured. The administration, under the supervision of the state government, is carrying out rescue and relief operations. Senior officials of the central government are in continuous communication with the state government of Uttar Pradesh. Through this house, I assure everyone that the victims will be provided all help."

Deadly stampedes are relatively common around Indian religious festivals, where large crowds gather in small areas with bad infrastructure and few safety measures.