Varanasi: Deadly stampede at Hindu procession

The Ganga, or Ganges River, flows through the holy city of Varanasi, here in 2013.

Story highlights

  • The stampede occurred during a procession in honor of a Hindu guru
  • India's Prime Minister promises financial aid to those injured and the families of those killed

New Delhi (CNN)The death toll from a stampede Saturday in the northern Indian city of Varanasi has climbed to 25, with five people injured, police said.

The stampede occurred at a procession in honor of the Hindu guru, Jai Gurudev, according to a spokesman in the office of the director general of police in Uttar Pradesh.
    CNN affiliate CNN-News 18 said the stampede occurred in the Ramnagar area of Varanasi, near the Rajghat bridge across the river Ganga, as the Ganges River is known in Hindi.
    Rescuers took the injured to the hospital.
    The state government suspended five police officers for negligence, said a police spokesperson. The commissioner of Varanasi, the top government official in the city, has opened an inquiry into what happened.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences and pledged financial aid to the injured and families of those killed.
    Varanasi, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, is the holiest of seven sacred Hindu sites in India, and said to be the founding place of Buddhism, making it a destination for thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
    One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India. The river Ganga flows through its heart.