At least 17 devotees, who were wading through the waters of Chambal river in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh, were swept away, reportedly after a ghariyal (alligator) attacked them resulting in the drowning of eight persons.
The remaining nine devotees either managed to swim to safety or were rescued by teams of the police and the district administration with the help of villagers
According to the police and rescue officials, all the devotees, including men and women, were from the Kushwaha community of Chilawad village in Shivpuri district of MP and were going to offer prayers at the Kaila Devi Temple across the river in Rajasthan district today early morning.
According to some reports, a ghariyal attacked the people when they were wading in the water holding each other’s hands, which resulted in panic and seven persons were swept away into the strong currents.
Sources said there is no bridge available to cross the river at the place where the mishap occurred, and people have no option but to cross from that spot by wading in the water.
Police officials said three bodies, including a man identified as Devkinandan (50), a woman named Kallo Bai and another unidentified man were fished out after some time but the remaining five were still missing and feared drowned.
The Chambal River is home to a large number of ghariyals and a 600-km long stretch of the river has been declared the National Chambal Ghariyal Wildlife Sanctuary spread across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
It was not yet certain whether an alligator killed any of the presumed dead or all of them died due to drowning in the river.