The death toll of the stampede at the Rajahmundry Pushkar Ghat has risen to 13 pilgrims, most of whom are said to be women.
The deceased pilgrims were among tens of thousands of people attending the ‘Pushkaram’ Festival in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari District on Tuesday. The injury toll is said to be over ten.
The stampede occurred when many pilgrims rushed towards one of the gates at the Kotagummam Pushkar Ghat on the banks of the River Godavari to take the holy dip.
It is expected that the death and injury toll may go up. Some bodies are said to still lying at the spot.
Chaos prevails at all the three gates at the ghat.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has instructed officials and the local administration to begin relief work.
He has also appealed to the people to stay in queue at the entry and exit points, and move to other ghats that are less crowded.
“It is regrettable that lives were lost in the stampede at Rajahmundry Ghat. Request people not to panic. Situation brought under control. I request the people to head to other Pushkar ghats to avoid overcrowding at single ghat. I’m monitoring situation from control room. Request people to follow queues lines & instructions. Pilgrims’ safety is top priority for us. Will provide all possible assistance,” Naidu said in a series of tweets after the tragedy.
The bodies have reportedly been shifted to the Rajahmundry Government Hospital for post-mortem and embalming. The injured are also admitted to the same hospital. The condition of some of them is said to be critical.
The ‘Godavari Pushkaram’, the once in 144-year event, is dedicated to the worshipping of rivers in the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.