Death Toll From India Stampede Mounts To 116

The stampede occurred in a village in Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh.

Death Toll From India Stampede Mounts To 116

A stampede at a Hindu religious gathering in northern India on Tuesday killed at least 116 people, many of them women and children, in one of the country's worst such catastrophes in years, officials said. 

The stampede occurred in a hamlet in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of the national capital, New Delhi, where officials say hundreds were gathered in the hot late afternoon heat. 

According to Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, the rush began when a swarm of devotees began surging towards the platform after the event to touch the preacher, who was on his way down.

While the reason was not immediately evident, Hathras district administrator Ashish Kumar speculated that it may have been "due to overcrowding at the time when people were trying to leave the venue.". 

Chaitra V., a senior state official, informed India Today that some may have lost their footing while seeking water in the heat. 

"There was wet mud in one area where people could have slipped." Also, due to the heat, people may have made their way to the location where water was stored, which might have contributed to the disaster," she stated, adding that 18 people were injured and hospitalized.

Police said they had launched an investigation and promised action against anyone found to be responsible, adding that the gathering may have been larger than had been permitted.