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12 Killed in Stampede at Indian Religious Gathering

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Local Editor

A stampede at a religious gathering in northern India killed 12 people Saturday as they rushed to pay their respects to a holy monk, a senior police officer said.

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Hundreds of devotees of Indian guru Jai Gurudev had gathered in Varanasi, a Hindu holy town in Uttar Pradesh state, when the deadly stampede broke out.

"We can confirm that 12 people have been killed and five others are seriously injured. We are monitoring the situation," Daljeet Chaudhary, the additional director general of police, told reporters in state capital Lucknow.

The injured have been taken to hospitals while senior district administration officials rushed to the site to assess the situation.

TV footage showed colorful clothing and slippers piled one on top of the other with policemen trying to clear the debris.

Stampedes at India's religious festivals, where a mixture of police and volunteer stewards are often overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowds, are not uncommon.

Last July, a stampede on the banks of a holy river killed at least 27 pilgrims in southern India.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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