Patna: At least 18 people, including children and women, mostly devotees, were killed and several others were injured in a stampede during Chhath festival celebrations in Patna on Monday evening, police said.
A district administration official said the incident took place when people were returning after offering prayers at sunset at Adalatganj ghat.
"This shocking incident took place after a temporary bridge made of bamboo collapsed due to heavy rush of people, mainly devotees and their family members," a police official said.
All the bodies were brought to the Patna Medical College and Hospital for post mortem and the injured were admitted for treatment.
District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Singh and Superintendent of Police Jayant Kant were camping at the hospital.
Over four lakh people from Patna and nearby areas gathered at different ghats here for Chhath celebration, officials said.
RJD leaders Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Kripal Yadav expressed their anger over lack of proper management and arrangements at river Ganges ghats by the state administration.
Lashing out at Nitish Kumar government they said that it’s negligence is unpardonable.
The temporary ‘bridge’ was constructed to enable devotees to take them to the main course of the Ganga river from the Adalatganj Ghat. “Between the river bank and the main course, there is a shallow stretch of dirty water, which is unfit for ‘Chhath’ rituals. The bridge was constructed there to enable devotees to avoid this stretch of dirty water”, said an official.
Patna city superintendent of police Jayant Kant said the deaths were mainly the result of a stampede caused by a power cut that threw the area into darkness.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi condoled the death of the devotees.