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India. Crowds watched the ceremony in the heat, a dozen people died

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A government-organized mass event in the Indian state of Maharashtra has left at least 13 dead, the Times of India reported. The fatalities suffered heatstroke. The ceremony to honor one of the Indian social activists was held in the open air during hot and sunny weather.

In Kharghara, on the outskirts of the city of Nawi Mumbai, a ceremony was held on Sunday, during which Interior Minister Amit Shah presented the award to Appasaheb Dharmadhikari, who is respected in the country for his numerous actions, such as reforestation and promoting honorary blood donation.

The event took place in the open air and lasted three hours in sunny and hot weather. According to the Times of India newspaper, the nearest weather station measured a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius at the time. The daily wrote that an area of ​​more than 120 hectares was filled with thousands of people.

The daily reported that the number of people who died from heatstroke has risen to 13. Previously, 11 deaths were reported. Among the dead are nine women and four men, aged between 42 and 64. Dozens of people were hospitalized. Eight participants of the ceremony remained hospitalized on Monday evening.

The government promised compensation, criticism of the opposition

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The state premier described the tragic event as “unexpected and painful”. He promised the families who lost their loved ones compensation in the amount of 500,000 rupees (almost PLN 26,000). He added that the government would provide free treatment to the victims.

The opposition accused the organizers and the ruling BJP party of putting people’s lives at risk. Former state prime minister Uddhav Thackeray said the event “was not properly planned” and called for an investigation into the matter. Some raise the issue that such an open-air event should not be held in April, one of India’s hottest months.

Crowds watched the ceremonyBachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Heatwaves in India

There is a heatwave in India. Over the past few days, parts of the country have recorded temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius, five degrees above the average for this time of year.

India’s February was the hottest since records began in 1901, the BBC points out. A study published by the medical journal The Lancet last fall found that the number of people who died from heatwaves in India has increased by 55 percent over the past 20 years.

Times of India, BBC, tvnmeteo.pl, PAP, Reuters

Main photo source: Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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