At least seven people were killed and nearly 50 injured at the Ardh Kumbh Mela in Ujjain on Thursday when some temporary structures collapsed after strong winds and heavy rains, officials said.
“Six people died after they were buried under the collapsed structures,” Ujjain police chief V. Madhukumar told IANS. He said a woman pilgrim was among the dead. “She apparently died after she was struck by lightning.”
Ujjain MP Chintamani Malviya told IANS that two or three temporary structures crashed following heavy rains as hundreds of devotees had taken shelter under them.
He said nearly 50 people were injured and some were in critical condition.
The police chief, however, said four or five people were being treated for serious injuries. The others were discharged.
“Things are under control now,” Madhukumar said. The rains had stopped.
The police chief said the strong storm coupled with lightning and rains hit the Undasa area around 5 p.m., uprooting tents installed for pilgrims.
IT and Transport Minister Bhoopendra Singh, who is also the in charge of Sinhastha Kumb Mela, earlier said the woman had “died apparently due to electrocution as snapped power lines fell on her due to the winds”.
The month-long pilgrimage visited by tens of thousands of devotees and tourists began on 22 April and is set to continue till 21 May with the last holy dip in Kshipra river.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was anguished over the “loss of lives”. “May Almighty give strength to the bereaved families to overcome the grief,” Modi tweeted.
“I hope the injured recover quickly. I pray for the safety and well-being of all saints, pilgrims and tourists at the Kumbh.”