Seven Hindu pilgrims were killed on Thursday in a stampede at a religious festival on the river Ganges in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, according to police officials. “The crush happened as hundreds of devotees rushed for places on a ferry to take them to the pilgrimage site on Gangasagar island — where the holy waters of the Ganges flow into the Bay of Bengal. ‘The rush became a stampede and seven people were killed,’ Surojit Kar Purokayastha, inspector general of the West Bengal police, told AFP. Seventeen people were injured, four of them seriously. Purokayastha said the accident was partly caused by a transport bottleneck. The ferry service to the island had been temporarily suspended during low tide, resulting in a large crowd building up on the mainland side. When the service resumed, the first vessel to dock was then swamped by pilgrims impatient to get to the island. Ritual bathing festivals were held along the length of the Ganges on Thursday as part of harvest festival celebrations across the country.”
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