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Stampede in Bengal's Gangasagar Fair, 6 Dead, Several Injured

At least six pilgrims have reportedly died and several injured in a stampede at Gangasagar Fair in West Bengal.

CNN-News18

Updated:January 15, 2017, 9:35 PM IST
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Stampede in Bengal's Gangasagar Fair, 6 Dead, Several Injured
A TV grab of volunteers helping conduct rescue operations after 6 people died in a stampede at Gangasagar Fair in Kolkata. (Courtesy: CNN-News18)
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Gangasagar: At least six pilgrims, all women, have reportedly died and several injured in a stampede at Gangasagar Fair in West Bengal, a minister said.

"Six aged women died at Kachuberia temporary hospital due to heart attack. They had fallen senseless due to suffocation," Manturam Pakhira, state Sundarbans development minister, told IANS over phone.

The pilgrims were said to be on their way back and waiting for a ferry. The ferry operations were on a halt due to high tide for a couple of hours. As a result of this delay, the crowd at Kachuberia jetty number 5 (South24 Parganas) increased and the excessive pressure by the crowd led to a stampede.

"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," the minister added.

The stampede occured at around 6 pm when there was a huge rush of pilgrims to board vessels to reach Kolkata, the officials said, adding, all of them were middle aged.

A search has been launched by naval divers to find out anybody who might have fallen into Buriganga river during the stampede, they added.

Those injured were quickly taken to the nearby hospital.

The Gangasagar Mela is the annual gathering of Hindu pilgrims to take a holy dip in the Ganga before the river merges into the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of Makar Sankranti at Sagar Island or Sagardwip in West Bengal.

At least 16 lakh had pilgrims gathered to take the holy dip at Gangasagar on the occasion of Makar Sankranti on Saturday and offered puja at the Kapil Muni temple, West Bengal Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Subrata Mukherjee had said on Saturday.

Expressing grief on the tragic death of 6 women in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took to Twitter and said, "Saddened by the loss of lives caused by a stampede in West Bengal. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased...My prayers with those injured in the stampede in West Bengal. May they recover quickly."

PM Modi also approved ex-gratia from PMNRF, of Rs 2 lakh for next of kin of those deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the stampede in West Bengal.

(With Agency Inputs)

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