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10 die in bathing ritual stampede

At least 10 people have been killed and dozens of others injured in a stampede during a Hindu religious gathering in Bangladesh, police said.

Local police chief Nazrul Islam said the accident happened in Langalbandh, a Hindu pilgrimage spot on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, 12 miles (20km) south-east of the capital, Dhaka.

The annual religious bathing ritual in Bangladesh's Narayanganj district draws thousands of Hindu devotees from Bangladesh and also neighbouring India and Nepal.

Nikhil Chandra Das, a devotee, said the accident happened after rumours spread that a bridge at the festival site had collapsed and people started running in panic.

Mr Das blamed local authorities for not controlling the crowds.

"Had there been enough volunteers or police, the incident could have been avoided," he said.

Mohammed Jakaria, a senior police official in the district, said more police had been sent to the festival site after the accident and the bathing ritual resumed after the stampede was controlled.

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