RAJAHMUNDRY: The Godavari Maha Pushkarams started on a tragic note with the death of at least three pilgrims and injuries to a dozen others following a stampede at the Pushkar Ghat in Kotagummam area of Rajahmundry on Tuesday.
The deceased were identified to be women but their details are yet to be ascertained by the authorities. The injured were rushed to Government Hospital in the city.
Tweets from our reporter on the incident:
AP deputy CM NC Rajappa says pilgrims need not panic. Officials are asking devotees to go to other ghats at RJY.@NewIndianXpress— pridhviraj rayasam (@Raj_TNIE) July 14, 2015
Toll in RJY stampede increases to four. Eight more are critically injured. @NewIndianXpress— pridhviraj rayasam (@Raj_TNIE) July 14, 2015
Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas: Tragedy occurred despite elaborate arrangements. @NewIndianXpress— pridhviraj rayasam (@Raj_TNIE) July 14, 2015
The condition of one woman injured in stampede during Godavari pushkaram is stated to be serious. @NewIndianXpress— pridhviraj rayasam (@Raj_TNIE) July 14, 2015
Three women killed in a stampede at a bathing ghat at Godavari Maha pushkaram at Rajahmundry. @NewIndianXpress— pridhviraj rayasam (@Raj_TNIE) July 14, 2015
The stampede occurred at around 8.30 am, about an hour after chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu left the ghat. Preliminary information indicates that a large number of pilgrims were kept waiting due to the presence of VVIPs including the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues besides a large group of bureaucrats and other VIPs for more than two hours.
Soon after the VVIPs left the premises after the inauguration, pilgrims jostled to reach the ghats. As crowds swelled, the pilgrims pushed each other resulting in the stampede near the Fort gate of the Kotagummam. Adding to the chaos, the police personnel used mild force to control the crowds. Minutes later, three women were found unconscious and a dozen others injured. They were all rushed to the hospital where the doctors declared three women brought dead.
The condition of two injured persons is critical, while the remaining escaped with minor injuries.