NEW DELHI, India - At least 30 people died in several boat capsizing incidents during religious rituals across India early Friday.
At least 11 people died in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh after the boat they were in capsized when carrying an idol of the Hindu god Ganesha.
The incident took place at around 4.30 a.m. local time when a boat carrying around 20 people immersing an idol of the Hindu god Ganesha capsized in a lake in Bhopal, remembered as the site of a 1984 industrial disaster.
Six people have been rescued. A search operation is underway.
Minister of State PC Sharma told Anadolu Agency: "11 people died in the incident. The people who drowned were taking a huge Ganesha idol and during immersion, the boat they were sitting in tilted and then capsized."
"We have already ordered an inquiry into the incident," he said.
The ritual represents the birth cycle of the Lord Ganesha.
The state government has announced compensation of 4,00,000 rupees ($5,600) to the families of those who have died.
Moreover, at least 18 people drowned in separate incidents during immersion of Ganesha idols in the west-central state of Maharashtra, news agency Press Trust of India reported citing police officials on Friday.
The immersions, which began on Anant Chaturdashi on Thursday, continued into Friday morning in several parts of Mumbai, Pune, and Sangli, officials said.
Drowning incidents were reported in 11 districts -- Amravati, Nashik, Thane, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Dhule, Bhandara, Nanded, Ahmednagar, Akola, and Satara -- an official said, resulting in 18 deaths.
There were four deaths in Amravati, three in Ratnagiri, two each in Nashik, Sindhudurg and Satara, and one each in Thane, Dhule, Buldhana, Akola, and Bhandara.
In Thane, a 15-year-old boy, identified as Kalpesh Jadhav of Kasara, drowned while immersing a Ganpati idol. The incident took place around 7.30 p.m. (1400GMT) on Thursday, an official said.
The bodies of four people who took part in immersion on Thursday in the Purna River in the village of Watole Shukleshwar, Amravati were fished out, he said.
(Photo credit: Anadolu Agency).