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Nearly 30 Killed in Stampede at Indian Religious Festival

Devotees crowd to attend the Maha Pushkaralu, a Hindu festival, on the banks of river Godavari at Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh, India, July 14, 2015.

Authorities in India say at least 27 people have been killed after a stampede on the banks of a river where pilgrims have gathered to observe a Hindu religious bathing festival.

The stampede occurred Tuesday in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh as tens of thousands of people rushed to bathe in the Godavari River. More than two dozen others were injured in the crush.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a statement on his Twitter account that he was "deeply pained" by the tragedy. The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh says the government will offer $15,570 in compensation for the victims.

Tuesday marked the start of the Maha Pushkaralu festival, when tens of millions of people are expected to make a pilgrimage to the Godavari River to offer prayers over the next 12 days.

Stampedes are a common occurrence in India during religious festivals, where massive crowds numbering in the millions gather in small areas, overwhelming security personnel.

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