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

Turkey refuses to apologise to Russia over jet incident

Jeremy Corbyn backs down on Syria bombing vote

Report: EU close to data sharing deal with US

Brian ‘Master’ Reader used free travel pass on way to £14m London heist

You might also like

Breaking Stories

Would you be less likely to litter if your rubbish had eyes on it?

Six children killed in school fire in Turkish village

German Cabinet approves military mission against 'Islamic State'

Tensions mount as Turkey accuses Russia of 'cover up'


Katy Harrington is having sobering thoughts after giving up - fags and booze at the same time!

Duhallow group honoured for wildlife and environmental work

Gaz Coombes is still alright after Supergrass

Equal pay for equal work but no country pays men and women the same

More From The Irish Examiner