Hindu festival stampede leaves six women dead

Hindu pilgrims offer prayers as they take holy dips at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal and Ganges River on Makar Sankranti festival in Gangasagar, India Image copyright AP
Image caption The victims had been attending the Makar Sankranti festival in Gangasagar

At least six women have died after getting caught in a stampede at a Hindu festival on the River Ganges.

The women were killed as people rushed onto a jetty as they returned from the two-day harvest festival in Gangasagar, West Bengal, a state minister said.

Another 10 people were injured, and rescue workers were searching the water for others who may have fallen in.

The disaster came less than a day after a boat overturned hundreds of miles upstream, leaving at least 24 dead.

That accident happened on Saturday evening as people were ferrying back after watching kite-flying celebrations to mark the festival near Patna, Bihar state's capital.

Twelve people managed to swim to shore, and eight were hospitalised after being rescued, Bihar state's disaster management minister Chandrashekhar told Reuters news agency.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rescue workers look for survivors after a boat overturned near Patna

The boat was only meant to be carrying 30 people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief for the victims of both incidents on Twitter, promising the families of the deceased 200,000 rupees ($2,935/£2,440) each.

It is estimated some 1.5 million people had gathered in Gangasagar, where the Ganges river flows into the sea, for the Hindu harvest festival of Makar Sankranti.

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