LUCKNOW- At least 24 people were killed and 20 others injured in a stampede Saturday that occurred as they were crossing a crowded bridge to reach the venue of a Hindu religious ceremony in northern India, police said.
The stampede happened on the outskirts of Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pradesh state known for its temples, said police officer Kumar Prashant.
S.K. Bhagat, another police officer, said that organizers were expecting 3,000 Hindu devotees at the ceremony, but that more than 70,000 thronged the ashram of a local Hindu religious leader, Jai Baba Gurudev, on the banks of the Ganges River.
"We were not prepared for such a large crowd," Raj Bahadur, a spokesman for the organizers, told The Associated Press.