Rajahmundry: Seventeen people dead and fourteen injured in a stampede during Godavari Pushkaram which is known as the MahaPushkaram festival in Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. The death toll and the numbered of injured people is likely to increase with the time, informed the security personnel.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.