Stampede kills 19 pilgrims in Varanasi | Reuters

NEW DELHI At least 19 people died in a stampede in the ancient city of Varanasi on Saturday, officials said.Panic spread as hundreds of Hindu pilgrims tried to cross a bridge to a sacred site in one of the world's oldest inhabited cities, at the heart of the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi."Rumours about the bridge collapse led to chaos after a man fell down in a crowd," said police officer Javeed Ahmad.

Millions of Hindus come to Varanasi every year to pray and wash away their sins by taking a dip in the sacred river Ganges.

Modi who was hosting the a meeting of BRICS nation in coastal city of Goa expressed his condolences to the victims' families and promised help.

(Reporting by Rupam Jain; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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