At least 16 killed in Haridwar stampede

At least 16 people were killed in a stampede that broke out when massive crowds had gathered near the Ganges for a religious event here Tuesday, organisers said.

Several others were injured in the incident at the "Yagyashala" just before noon, Divesh Vyas, spokesperson of the Gayatri Parivar, told IANS.

"There was a bottleneck," he said. "Most people died due to suffocation."

The victims were removed from the site to ambulances by volunteers of Gayatri Parivar, which had organised a five-day event aimed at propagating Gayatri Mantra -- one of the foremost chants in Hinduism -- beginning Sunday.

Some of the injured limped as they tried to walk. Others were carried on stretchers. Many others looked frightened after escaping the trauma.

The organisers had said that an estimated 50 lakh people would attend the five-day event from all parts of India. Among those set to attend were the chief ministers of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and the Dalai Lama.

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