Five pilgrims die after Makar Sankranti dip

January 14th, 2009 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 14 (IANS) Five pilgrims died of cerebral stroke or cardiac arrest Wednesday, as nearly half a million devotees took the holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of Makar Sankranti Wednesday.”Five people died of cerebral and heart attacks at Ganga Sagar (in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district),” district magistrate Sanghamitra Ghosh told IANS.

“They had come to take holy dips at the confluence of the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal on Makar Sankranti,” Ghosh said.

In a separate incident, at least 10 pilgrims were injured after they skidded off an over-crowded jetty at Kachuberia village.

“The injured fell of jetty no. 3 unable to cope with the rush. Four of them have been hospitalised,” superintendent of police Ajay Ranade said.

According to officials, at least 500,000 pilgrims took the holy dip since morning at Gangasagar, about 115 km from here.

Pilgrims from various parts of India and Nepal performed their morning ablutions at the five ghats (staircases) near Gangasagar.

Security was upped across the Sagar island and according to Ranade, over 5,000 security personnel were deployed there.

“We have set up watch towers and installed close circuit cameras. Helicopters and civil defence personnel are also there for rescue operations (in case of any) emergency,” Ranade said.

Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country with devotion, fervour and gaiety.

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