01:00 - Source: CNN
Dozens killed by stampede at religious festival
CNN —  

At least 27 people, mostly women, died in a stampede at a riverside religious festival in southern India, a senior official said.

More than 40 people were injured in the crush that occurred on Tuesday morning in Rajahmundry, a major city in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Thousands of people gather during a Hindu religious bathing festival on the bank of the Godavari River in the Andhra Pradesh state on July 14.

The festival, called Pushkaram or Pushkaralu in the Telugu language, is a 12-day Hindu bathing festival dedicated to river worship.

Arun Kumar, the chief of the district where the stampede took place, said there were “inadequate arrangements” for the crowds of worshippers surging at a river bank for a holy dip.

A woman is rushed to a hospital on a stretcher after the stampede.

There was a sudden rush of some 100,000 pilgrims at one bank that was equipped to handle only a third of them, he said.

“There was chaos at the entrance. And suddenly there was this stampede,” Kumar told CNN.

According to Hindu astrology, the festival happens once in 144 years.

For believers, a dip into the sacred Godavari river during this period cleanses them of their sins.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his condolences to the victim’s families on Twitter.

Death toll in India temple stampede rises to 112