World Bulletin / News Desk
A stampede at a Hindu festival in south India has killed at least 18 people, local media reported Tuesday.
The crush occurred on the banks of the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh state, where thousands of Hindu devotees had gathered to ritually submerge themselves in the water.
There was no official death toll but the Hindu newspaper put the figure at 18, with most of the victims female, but local news channel NDTV said that death toll rose to 27, quoting unnamed state officials.
The incident reportedly happened after some devotees were coming out of the river after performing the ritual but were blocked by more incoming devotees.
The stampede happened 30 minutes after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu himself performed the ritual.
“It is regrettable that lives are lost in stampede at Rajahmundry Ghat. Request people not to panic. Situation brought under control,” Naidu tweeted.
He appealed to devotees to avoid overcrowding and said he was closely monitoring the situation from a police control room.
“Request people to follow queues lines & instructions. Pilgrims’ safety is top priority for us. Will provide all possible assistance,” Naidu said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he spoke to Naidu and the state government is working to restore normalcy.
“Deeply pained at the loss of lives due to stampede at Rajahmundry. My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured,” Modi tweeted.
The 12-day long festival named Maha Pushkaralu is a Hindu festival in south India which celebrates rivers. The high point of the festival is taking a dip in the river, attracting millions of devotees.Last Mod: 14 Temmuz 2015, 11:52