West Bengal: Stampede in Gangasagar fair, at least 6 dead

Kolkata: At least six people died on Sunday in a stampede at jetty 5 in Kachuberia in Sagar Islands in South 24 Parganas.

Initial reports suggest that three people are seriously injured.

Some 1.5 million people had assembled at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal state to take a holy dip in the river on the occasion of the Hindu harvest festival of Makar Sakranti.

"The mishap occurred as the pilgrims got imapatient due to the long queue at jetty number five in Kachuberi and tried to outdo others in boarding the vessel", he said.

"The victims were rushed to a temporary hospital nearby but were declared dead on arrival".

At least six pilgrims died while returning from Gangasagar fair yesterday, which the officials initially said was a stampede, but the state government later claimed it was not.

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A search has been launched by naval divers to find anybody who might have fallen into the river during the rush.

According to witnesses, the pilgrims were said to be on their way back and started jostling to board a vessel at Kachuberia this evening. The denial came soon after the prime minister expressed grief over the deaths caused by "stampede".

According to CNN-News18, the situation has now been brought under control.

The holy dip is taken at the Gangasagar Mela every year by devotees when the water of river Ganga merges into the Bay of Bengal Sea during Makar Sankranti at Sagar Island or Sagardwip in West Bengal.

More details are awaited.

  • Megan Austin