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24 killed in Varanasi stampede
In a stampede over the Ganga in Varanasi, at least 24 people were killed and 13 others injured.

The stampede broke out when about 3 lakh followers were crossing the Rajghat bridge towards Domri village. According to ADG (law and order) Daljit Singh Chowdhary, the stampede was fuelled by rumours that the bridge had collapsed.

PM Narendra Modi, who is an MP from Varanasi, posted on Twitter: "I have spoken to officials and asked them to ensure all possible help to those affected due to (the) stampede in Varanasi."

Five police officers have been suspended and a magisterial enquiry has been ordered by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. He has also promised that strict action will be taken against those who will be found guilty of negligence.

The yatra had been organized by the Jai Gurudev Dharam Pracharak Sanstha.

The process of identifying the deceased has been started.  Principal Secretary (Home) Debasish Panda, DGP Javeed Ahmad, and Officer on Special Duty (Home) S K Raghuvanshi have also reached the spot to assess the situation.

The PM has sanctioned a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

Apart from providing treatment to the injured, the CM has announced that the families of those killed will receive a monetary compensation of Rs 5 lakh each and those who have been injured will receive a compensation of Rs 50,000 each. The state government also announced additional financial help under the Samajwadi Kisan Evam Sarvhit Bima Yojana of Rs 5 lakh to families of the deceased and Rs 2.5 lakh each to families of the injured.

Officials have said that the organizers had taken permission for only two to three thousand devotees while as the number of devotees who attended the event ran in lakhs. 

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