Fatal stampede at Hindu festival

AT least five people were killed in a stampede yesterday as ten million Hindu pilgrims led by hundreds of ash-covered, naked holy men streamed into the sacred waters of the river Ganges yesterday at the world’s biggest religious festival.

The date, chosen by astrologers, was the “main royal bathing day” of the Kumbh Mela, a 104-day event held in India every three years that is a riot of colour and noise as well as a gigantic spectacle of religious piety.

Devotees assembled along a 15-kilometre stretch of the Ganges for a dip in the river that they believe cleanses them of sin and frees them from the cycle of life and rebirth.

The highest-ranking holy men, the naked “naga sadhus”, consider themselves spiritual guardians of the Hindu faith and fiercely defend their right to bathe at the most auspicious moment.

But in one reported accident, five pilgrims were killed after a car carrying naga sadhus ploughed into a group of people, the Press Trust of India news agency said, citing police.

Other media reports said seven people had died in the incident after the car crash caused a stampede.

Dozens of one-way footbridges criss-cross the Ganges around Haridwar and a massive police presence of 16,000 personnel was on hand to prevent crowd congestion that has triggered deadly stampedes in the past.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

More in this Section

Scotland could block Brexit, says Nicola Sturgeon

Jeremy Corbyn under pressure amid string of resignations

10 injured after Scotland rollercoaster derails

Justine Greening: Tory leadership battle ‘not in interests of country’


You might also like

Breaking Stories

This tiny cheek implant could get rid of painful cluster headaches

Teen attacked by hyena in South African park

Here are the UK Labour shadow cabinet ministers who have left

Two fight for life after stabbings at white nationalist rally in California

Lifestyle

Tackling migraines head on is key to dealing with the disorder

We need to wake up to the idea of Fairtrade coffee brands and the good they do

The Leaving Cert does not define who I am

Foals are surfing the wave and love playing the bigger venues

More From The Irish Examiner