More than 20 people have been killed after a stampede at a religious festival in India. Dozens of others were injured in the incident, which occurred in the south of the country.
At least 22 people were killed in the stampede on Tuesday, which broke out as tens of thousands of pilgrims rushed to the shores of the Godavari River in Rajahmundry, shortly after the start of the Maha Pushkaralu festival. Police said the trouble started when some pilgrims were trying to retrieve their shoes after losing them in the rush to the river bank.
The AFP news agency quoted a spokesman for the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state, Chandrababu Naidu, who put the death toll even higher, at 27, with a similar number injured.
"At least two of the 29 injured are critical," the spokesman, Parakala Prabhakar said, adding that the situation had since been brought under control. An investigation into the tragedy has been opened.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his Twitter account to express his condolences to the families of the deceased.
The start of the Maha Pushkaralu festival coincides with the beginning of the much larger Kumbh Mela festival, being held in the western state of Maharashtra.
pfd/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)