At least 22 pilgrims, all women and children, were killed and more than two seriously injured when a tractor trolley overturned and fell into a pond in the Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, PTI news agency said.
The tractor, carrying 50 people, was returning from the Chandrika Devi temple in Unnao when the tragedy occurred near the Gathampur area of Kanpur.
The injured have been transferred to local hospitals, and police and locals are participating in rescue operations. In horrific scenes, people were seen retrieving bodies from the pond with their bare hands.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed distress over the incident and announced 200,000 rupees in compensation for the family who lost a member in the accident. The injured will receive financial assistance of Rs 50,000.
Distressed by tractor-trolley accident in Kanpur. My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one. Pray with the wounded. Local government is offering all possible help to those affected: PM @narendramodi
— Indian PMO (@PMOIndia) October 1, 2022
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also expressed condolences for the victims and has sent Senior Ministers Rakesh Sachan and Ajit Pal to the scene of the accident to oversee rescue efforts.
Shortly after the incident, the chief minister called on people not to use tractor trolleys for transport. Tractor trolleys should be used for agricultural work and transporting goods, he said.
A government spokesman said in Lucknow that the chief minister was personally overseeing the rescue operation.