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Indian devotees gather after a stampede at a religious festival in Godavari in the Rajahmundry district some 200 kms north-east of Hyderabad on July 14, 2015.  STRDEL—AFP/Getty Images

27 Killed in a Stampede at a Religious Festival in India

Jul 14, 2015

More than two dozen people were killed during a stampede in India on Tuesday, during a religious ceremony on the banks of a major river in the country's south.

A total of 27 people were killed while trying to rush towards the Godavari river at Rajahmundry in the state of Andhra Pradesh, while another 29 were injured, Agence France-Presse reported.

"At least two of the 29 injured are critical," a spokesman for Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said. Indian news channel NDTV reported that 25 of the deceased were women.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims had flocked to Rajahmundry to participate in the Maha Pushkaralu festival, a 12-day event that takes place once every 144 years when attendees bathe in the river as a spiritual purification rite. More than 10 million people are expected to visit the festival over the next two weeks.

Stampedes are sadly frequent in India and other parts of South Asia, where historic sites are other venues are frequently not designed for the large numbers using them.

A stampede on Friday in Bangladesh killed at least 23 people. Tuesday meanwhile marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in the western Indian city of Nashik, a Hindu festival where stampedes have taken place on several occasions in the past.

An Indian Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
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A Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.Kevin Frayer—Getty Images
An Indian Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
An Indian Muslim woman votes at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters of BJP leader Narendra Modi run as a helicopter carrying Modi takes off after a rally on May 10, 2014 in Robertsganj, near Varanasi.
Supporters of the Congress Party stand in fron of a poster showing Rahul Gandhi and his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi as they wait before a rally on May 10, 2014 in Varanasi.
Veiled Muslim supporters of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal wait for his convoy to pass during a rally by the leader on May 9, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters run passed a banner showing BJP leader Narendra Modi at a rally by the leader on May 8, 2014 in Rohaniya, near Varanasi.
BJP leader Narendra Modi gestures to supporters while driving through the streets on May 8, 2014 in Varanasi.
Muslim residents watch the convoy of BJP leader Narendra Modi as he drives in the street on May 8, 2014 in Varanasi.
BJP leader Narendra Modi greets supporters as he is surrounded by bodyguards while driving through the streets on May 8, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters of BJP leader Narendra Modi cheer during his speech at a rally by the leader on May 8, 2014 in Rohaniya, near Varanasi.
Buddhist monks from the Drukpa lineage hold their voting cards as they wait outside a polling station to vote near the Hemis Monastery on May 7, 2014 in Hemis, Ladakh.
Ladkahis wait inside a polling station to vote near the Thiksey Monastery on May 7, 2014 in Thiksey, Ladakh.
Ladkahis wait outside a polling station to vote near the Thiksey Monastery on May 7, 2014 in Thiksey, Ladakh.
Indian security force soldiers on election duty sit in a bus as they leave a central collection point to head for a polling station, on May 6, 2014 in Leh, Ladakh.
Indian security force soldiers on election duty wait to leave a central collection point to head to secure polling stations, on May 6, 2014 in Leh, Ladakh.
Villagers and supporters listen to a speech by BJP leader Narendra Modi at a rally on April 27, 2014 in Sidhuali near Lucknow.
A disabled boy wears a mask of BJP leader Narendra Modi as he walks past a police checkpoint at a rally by Modi on April 25, 2014 in Bathinda, Punjab.
An Indian Sikh man wears a mask of BJP leader Narendra Modi as they crowd to hear his speech on April 25, 2014 in Bathinder, Punjab.
Transgender Candidate Hijra Guru Baseer Kinnar aka Kamala Kinnar speaks to a resident while campaigning in a Muslim neighbourhood on April 23, 2014 in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi.
AAP leader and anti-corruption activist Arvin Kejriwal is surrounded by police bodyguards as he greets supporters from an open jeep on his way to file his nomination papers on April 23, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters of India's ruling Congress Party listen during a speech by leader Rahul Gandhi during a rally on April 20, 2014 in Mumbai,.
A supporter of India's ruling Congress Party wears a mask of leader Rahul Gandhi during a rally on April 20, 2014 in Mumbai.
Indian women wait to vote at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
Indian women wait to vote at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
An Indian woman casts her ballot at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
An Indian woman casts her ballot at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
Indian women arrive to vote at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
An Indian family listens as Rahul Gandhi, leader of India's ruling Congress Party speaks at a rally on April 6, 2014 in New Delhi.
A Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
Kevin Frayer—Getty Images
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