NEW DELHI: A stampede on the banks of a holy river killed at least five female pilgrims Tuesday at the start of a major religious festival in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, police said.
“We can confirm five deaths so far. Another five or six people are still undergoing treatment,” A. Srinivasan Rao, deputy superintendent of Andhra Police’s Special Branch, told AFP.
The stampede broke out at around 8:00 am (0230 GMT) in the Rajahmundry district, some two hours after the start of the Maha Pushkaralu festival which sees thousands of people bathe in the waters of the Godavari river.
“The incident happened as the first set of worshippers were coming out of the river after taking a dip and then got in the way of others who wanted to be in the water at an auspicious time,” Rao said.
The dead include four women and a fifteen-year old girl, police added.