Three killed in stampede in Bihar’s Begusarai during Kartik Purnima celebrations

Begusarai (India): Three women were killed and 10 other devotees were injured in a stampede on the banks of the Ganga in Bihar’s Begursai where hundreds of people had gathered for a holy dip on the occasion of Kartik Purnima on Saturday, eye-witnesses said.

Begusarai superintendent of police Aditya Kumar, confirmed the deaths but denied any stampede.

“The victims, all women, were more than 80 years old and were apparently very weak. It appears they died of suffocation after being stuck on a narrow lane that was being used by a large number of pilgrims for going to and returning from the ghat,” he told HT.

The incident took place at Simaria Ghat, 19 km from Begusarai and 110 km east of Patna.

The incident site was strewn with slippers and water bottles left behind by people as they rushed to escape being crushed on the lane.

Stampedes in religious gatherings in India have left hundreds of people dead and injured over the years, mainly attributed to poor crowd management by organisers and even police.

However, government intervention, better infrastructure and crowd-control techniques at places of annual gatherings have brought down the frequencies of stampedes.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar expressed announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next kin of the deceased. He also instructed the officials to provide free medical aid to the injured.

The incident came weeks after more than 20 people were killed in a stampede on a foot over-bridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai. 35 others were injured in the incident.