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Seven killed in Hindu festival stampede

By Harmeet Shah Singh CNN
A holy man offers water to the Sun God during the "Gangasagar" where the river Ganges connects with the Bay of Bengal.
A holy man offers water to the Sun God during the "Gangasagar" where the river Ganges connects with the Bay of Bengal.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Crush occurred at a jetty when pilgrims were heading for the Gangasagar island to take holy dips
  • Six women and a child were among the dead, while nine others were injured in the stampede
  • Thousands of Hindus have swamped Haridwar in northern India for weekslong Kumbh Mela, or Pitcher Festival
RELATED TOPICS
  • India
  • Ganges River

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Seven pilgrims were trampled to death in eastern India Thursday when they tried to board a ferry for a sacred island site, authorities said.

The crush occurred at a jetty when pilgrims were heading for the Gangasagar island to take holy dips, said Khalil Ahmed, the most senior official of West Bengal state's South 24 Parganas district.

There were six women and a child among the dead, Ahmed told CNN. Nine others were injured in the stampede, he said.

Thursday is a key date on the Hindu religious calendar.

In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of Hindus have swamped Haridwar in northern India for the weekslong Kumbh Mela, or the Pitcher Festival.

Send your images, video from the Kumbh Mela

The event is marked with a series of mass bathings in the Ganges -- one of India's most sacred but heavily polluted rivers -- in the belief that the act washes off sins.