Kolkata, January 15: A stampede has been reported from Gangasagar mela in West Bengal, in which at least six people are feared dead and several others injured. The stampede took place at Kachuberia Jetty number – 5 in Gangasagar fair where more than 1 million devotees had gathered to take a holy dip in the Ganga at the time of Makar Sankranti, when the holy river flows into the sea. One male and five females were dead during the stampede and several others were injured but the government has not yet released any official statement.
On Saturday, a fire broke out at the ground where the pilgrims were spending their night. It was controlled withing half-an-hour. Gangasagar Mela is one of the biggest ritual carried out by devotees in which every year millions of people gather due to which adequate security measures has been taken by the government.
This year the state government had taken adequate measures to avoid any untoward incident. This year the state government had deployed around 9,000 policemen and volunteers and had set up 165 CCTVs across the area. According to a rough estimate, the state government expected around 15 lakh crowds at Gangasagar mela.
The holy dip is taken at the Gangasagar Mela every year by devotees when the water of river Ganga merges into the Bay of Bengal Sea during Makar Sankranti at Sagar Island or Sagardwip in West Bengal. The Gangasagar Mela is widely celebrated every year. The Gangasagar Island is around 108 km away from Kolkata.
Thousands of people were present at the spot when the incident took place. The situation has been monitored at the highest level. The local administration has not yet given any details about the incident. The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital.
For Gangasagar Mela, massive preparation takes place every year. The Gangasagar Mela, also known as Ganga Sagar Yatra or Ganga Snan, is the annual gathering of Hindu pilgrims where the devotees take a holy dip in the river. The Gangasagar fair that began three days ago was about to end on January 15, the day after Makar Sankranti.
The tiny island falls under South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. As its is the biggest fair in West Bengal, coast guard officials, the Army, the NDRF, the marine police to the state government machinery and several hundred security personnel were deployed in the Sagar island.