Gangasagar stampede: Six killed as pilgrims rush to board boat at Gangasagar

Gangasagar Mela stampede Ganga Snan West Bengal Makar Sankranti

Six people are reported dead in a deadly stampede at The Gangasagar Mela in West Bengal earlier today

Six pilgrims, all women, died due to suffocation during a mad rush of the crowds to board a vessel at Kachuberia on their way home from Gangasagar fair after taking the holy dip, a minister said.

Thousands of people were present at the spot when the incident took place.

A day after the death of six Gangasagar pilgrims, which sparked off a row between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Mamata Banerjee government, Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has expressed his condolences, albeit carefully. The sick were admitted at the camp hospital near Kachuberia and were attended to by a team of doctors.

The area where the stampede occurred is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state.

The disaster came less than a day after a boat overturned hundreds of miles upstream, leaving at least 24 dead. All were taken to a nearby temporary healthcare centre where the six died. All these deaths, he claimed, "are either due to cold or heart attack as informed by the doctors".

Sources in the police denied that a stampede took place.

Meanwhile, PHE minister Mr Mukherjee said a total 16 lakh pilgrims took their holy dip in two days on the occasion of Makar Sankranti at Ganga Sagar.

The West Bengal government is responsible for the arrangements at the Ganga Sagar Mela. Pilgrims from West Bengal as well as neighbouring states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha participated in the mela.

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