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India monsoon lightning kills at least 74

Seventy-four people have been killed by lightning across eastern and northern India over the last 24 hours.

A majority of the deaths, mostly farm labourers working in fields, occurred in the eastern state of Bihar, where 57 people died after being struck by lightning.

At least 24 others were injured when thunderstorms and monsoon rains hit 14 districts of the state.

Ten people were killed by lightning in neighbouring Jharkhand state, six in northern Uttar Pradesh state, and another in Maharashtra.

A Bihar disaster management official said scores of cattle also died in the state after being struck by lightning.

The dead included at least eight shepherds watching their sheep. The death toll is expected to rise as reports come in from remote districts of the state.

Lightning strikes are common during India's monsoon season, which runs from June to September. However, the recent toll is unusually high.

At least 2,000 people have died in lightning strikes in India every year since 2005, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.


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