Ujjain: At least seven people were killed and several others injured after a pandal collapsed due to strong winds followed by heavy rain in Ujjain's Simhastha Kumbh on Thursday evening.
It is reported that the deceased include four devotees and one sadhu.
"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."
The month-long Simhastha Kumbh mela, held after a gap of every 12 years, began in Ujjain on April 22 and is set to continue till May 21 with the last holy dip in Kshipra river.
Over seven crore pilgrims are expected to visit Ujjain and other holy places during the month long fair, for which huge security and logistical arrangements have been made, including shifting of police forces from all 51 districts to Ujjain.
Ujjain's BJP 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".
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."