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No stampede at Gangasagar, PMO's tweet against federal structure: West Bengal minister

17 January 2017

A Trinamool Congress Party minister in West Bengal on Monday denied reports of a stampede at Gangasagar and alleged that the Prime Minister's Office went "against the federal structure of the country" by tweeting about it without confirming with the state government. More than 35 people have been injured in the incident, according to CNN-News18.

Around 1.6 million pilgrims from across India and overseas had gathered at Sagar island, around 150 km from Kolkata in South 24 Parganas district, this year for the annual Gangsagar Mela on Makar Sankranti. 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.

Yesterday, a fire had broken out at the grounds where the pilgrims converge. The state government had taken a number of measures to avoid any untoward incident this year by deploying around 9,000 policemen and volunteers and setting up 165 CCTVs across the area.

Thousands of people were present at the spot when the incident took place.

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"Saddened by the loss of lives caused by stampede in Bengal".

This island is considered auspicious by the Hindus, who converge here at this time of the year to take the holy dip and pray by offering a coconut at the Kapil Muni temple.

Around 1.5 million people had assembled at Gangasagar for a two-day harvest festival, "Makar Sankranti". As a result of this delay, the crowd at Kachuberia jetty number 5 at South 24 Parganas district, about 120km from Kolkata, increased and the excessive pressure by the crowd led to a stampede.