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West Bengal: Six die in ‘stampede’ at Ganga Sagar Mela

Pilgrims from West Bengal as well as neighbouring states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha participated in the mela.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: January 16, 2017 4:39 pm
Stampede, Gangasagar stampede, Gangasagar, stampede at Gangasagar, Gangasagar fair, six dead- Gangasagar stampede West Bengal Gangasagar fair, six dead-Gangasagar fair stampede, West Bengal, latest news, West Bengal stampede, India news, Gan Indian Express  At site of the stampede. PTI Photo

Six elderly women died at the annual Ganga Sagar Mela — one of West Bengal’s biggest religious fairs — at Kochuberia in South 24 Parganas district on Sunday. According to eyewitnesses, the pilgrims died in a stampede at the Kochuberia jetty where a crowd was waiting to board a boat.

Although state Sunderbans Development Minister Manturam Pakhira denied the stampede, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about it and announced Rs 2 lakh for the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 for those injured.

“Saddened by the loss of lives caused by a stampede in West Bengal. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” the Prime Minister tweeted. “My prayers with those injured in the stampede in West Bengal. May they recover quickly.”

WATCH VIDEO | West Bengal: Six Dead, 10 Injured In Ganga Sagar Mela Stampede

Pakhira, however, told The Indian Express, “There was no stampede. Six pilgrims died today and they were all old women. They suffered heart attack. All of them were rushed to a nearby hospital but they died despite efforts to revive them.”

“They were all old and these were natural deaths,” he said, adding that the incident took place at 6.30 pm.

Government officials were trying to ascertain the identity of the women who died amid reports that three of them were from Uttar Pradesh.

Conflicting reports about the deaths came in through the evening about the deaths.

A local source said, “The incident took place after the bathing in the evening. There were hundreds of people waiting to board the boat on the jetty. They had been waiting for a long time and had become restless so there was a stampede-like incident. Six people fell down in the rush and died.”

Sources in the police denied that a stampede took place. They said the victims “died due to the cold”. Some reports said that two of the pilgrims died on the spot but the minister maintained all six were taken to the hospital where they died.

The West Bengal government is responsible for the arrangements at the Ganga Sagar Mela. According to government estimates, a total of 16 lakh pilgrims took the holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti this year. Pilgrims from West Bengal as well as neighbouring states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha participated in the mela.

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  1. A
    A K
    Jan 16, 2017 at 4:58 am
    shame for the West Bengal administration. Total failure of System and leadership.lt;br/gt;Who will take responsibility of the death and injured people.
    1. H P
      Jan 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm
      People died in Bihar due to kite festival and again the pilgrims died in a stampede at Calcutta at the Kochuberia jetty are disgraceful sorrow deed news. Is there any government or any administration? Shame with administration.
      1. T
        Tamilmani Marichetty
        Jan 16, 2017 at 1:02 am
        We have to change certain practices due to the huge growth of potion... We have to also educate the people about Purity, which is mind related and cannot be attained by taking holy dip in Ganga... Whoever believes God, love all and live harmless to others need not to risk their life of taking holy dip in crowded river...