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Tragedy strikes as stampede claims 87 lives at religious event

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Tragedy strikes as stampede claims 87 lives at religious event

A stampede at a religious gathering in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday has killed at least 87 people, according to local police.

The heart-wrenching incident unfolded during a prayer meeting, known as satsang in the Mughal Garhi village, located approximately 200 kilometers southeast of New Delhi.

The tragic toll includes 60 casualties in the Hathras district and an additional 27 in the neighboring Etah district, where the victims were rushed to Etah hospital for medical attention.

“The numbers may rise. People are being taken to hospitals in Hathras district and neighboring district of Etah,” Manish Chikara, Hathras district police spokesperson, told CNN.

Video distributed by Reuters showed crowds gathering outside a local hospital in Etah alongside distraught relatives. Medical personnel could be seen carrying people on stretchers.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences in an address in the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament known as the Lok Sabha.

Modi said the government is engaged in “relief and rescue work” and is coordinating with the state government. “The victims will be helped in every way,” he said.

Speaking to reporters, Ashish Kumar, the district magistrate of Hathras, said the stampede happened as people were leaving the event, which was held to celebrate the Hindu deity Shiva.

The district magistrate said police had given permission for the private event and officials were “put on duty for maintenance of law and order and security,” but arrangements inside were handled by the organizers.

An investigation into the incident will be conducted by a newly formed high-level committee, he added.

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