At least six persons, all women have died in a stampede that occurred near Kochuberia in Sagar Islands during Gangasagar fair in West Bengal. Over 35 people have been injured in the incident, according to the reports.
“Six aged women died at Kachuberia temporary hospital due to heart attack. They had fallen senseless due to suffocation,” said Manturam Pakhira, state Sundarbans development minister as per a report in Firstpost. “The mishap occurred as the pilgrims got impatient due to the long queue at jetty number five in Kachuberia and tried to outdo others in boarding the vessel,” he said.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives. He sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for injured. “Saddened by the loss of lives caused by a stampede in West Bengal. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” the PM tweeted.
“My prayers with those injured in the stampede in West Bengal. May they recover quickly,” he added.
The incident occurred while the devotees were trying to board a launch at the Kachuberia ghats at around 5pm at jetty number 5 of Kachuberia ghats. Three of the six devotees who died are from Uttar Pradesh.
The state government also announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of stampede victims.
Authorities said that the rush to get on the last launch caused the accident. At least 16 lakh pilgrims took the holy dip at Gangasagar on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The death toll is likely to rise.