16 killed in Haridwar stampede


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 here today.

The stampede occurred when 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 suffocation led to the stampede but the exact cause will only come out after an inquiry," he said.

As the stampede broke out, people ran helter-skelter with women and children falling on the ground.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was also holding a '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 ashram authorities for not involving the police and district administration in the management of the ceremony where lakhs of people had gathered during the last few days.

PM sanctions Rs 1 lakh for kin of dead

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed grief over the loss of lives in the stampede in Haridwar, Uttarakhand and sanctioned Rs 1 lakh for the kin of those killed.

He also sanctioned Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured, a PMO spokesman said.

"The Prime Minister is grieved to learn about the loss of lives in the Haridwar stampede," the spokesman said.

Sonia condoles stampede deaths

Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed grief at the tragic stampede deaths in Haridwar today 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

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