At least one person was killed and several others seriously injured as a speeding car ploughed into people proceeding to immerse a Durga idol in Pathalgaon area of Chhattisgarh's Jashpur district on Friday, the police said.
While a police officer at the spot said that four people have died and more than 15 are seriously injured, Jashpur's Superintendent of Police Vijay Agarwal confirmed only one death so far and a number of injuries.
Witnesses claimed that the driver deliberately targetted the gathering on Raigarh road, and a viral video of the incident makes for disturbing viewing.
The immersion procession had set out from Pathalgaon at around 1.30 p.m. when the maroon-coloured Sumo, being driven at a speed of 100-120 km per hour, crashed into it, throwing people around "like footballs" and crushing others, including a youth who died on the spot.
The deceased was identified as Gaurav Agarwal, 21.
Driver thrashed by crowd; ganja found
The Superintendent of Police told the media that the reckless driver was caught by the people and thrashed badly. A huge quantity of ganja was also found in the vehicle, which was set on fire by the enraged people.
However, a police officer said that there were two people in the car - Radheshyam Vishwakarma, 21, and Shishupal Shahu, both from Madhya Pradesh. Both have been arrested.
Scary visuals from Jashpur in Chattisgarh where a speeding SUV rammed into people on the road during the procession of Durga Visarjan. Casualties have been reported. One person has died while 20 are injured. Four people reportedly are critical. pic.twitter.com/iPTlsuWc3Y— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) October 15, 2021
The incident created anger among the local people, who, along with the body of the killed youth, blocked the Gumla-Katni highway.
A police official said the situation was critical as more and more people from nearby areas gathered there.
"Somehow, we managed to control the situation. But people are still there on the spot. Senior officials have also reached there," he added.
(With inputs from IANS)