Published On : Tue, Jul 14th, 2015

3 dead, several injured in stampede at Godavari Pushkaram festival

Rajahmundry/Nagpur: Three women died in a stampede during Godavari Pushkaram festival in Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. Several others have been injured in the incident and the death toll is likely to rise.

Police is trying to divert the devotees from the ghats to control the crowd. The Godavari Pushkaram festival is being held on river Godavari’s banks.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is at the spot to monitor the situation. The bodies of victims, all women, were shifted to Rajahmundry government hospital. The injured were also brought to the hospital, where the condition of some of them is stated to be critical.

This is the first Pushkaram being held after the bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. The 12-day-long ‘Godavari Pushkaram’ in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana began on Tuesday. Crores of devotees are expected to take part in the mega congregation in both states.

Similar to the ‘Kumbh melas’, celebrated by the banks of the holy rivers of India, ‘Pushkaram’ is held every 12 years in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Taking a dip in Godavari river is the main feature of the festival. The event this year is special as it marks the ‘Maha Pushkaram’, which comes once in every 144 years.

“This is very significant from the astronomical point of view. The conjunction of ‘Brihaspati’ (Jupiter) entering into ‘Simha rasi’ (zodiac sign of Leo),” Advisor (Communications) to Andhra Pradesh government, Parakala Prabhakar, who heads a committee on ‘Pushkaram’, said earlier.