At least 18 people, eight of them children and 10 women, were killed and several others injured in a stampede during Chhath festivities in Patna on Monday evening.
The tragedy occurred at the Adalatganj Ghat on the Ganga river.
The Bihar government has ordered an inquiry into the incident. "Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked home secretary Amir Subhani to conduct an inquiry. He has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of victims," an official from the chief minister's office said.
A district police official said that the mishap took place when people were returning after offering prayers to the setting Sun in Patna's Adalatganj Ghat.
"The shocking incident took place after a temporary bridge of bamboo collapsed due to a heavy rush of devotees," the police official said.
Hundreds of angry people, mostly family members and relatives of those killed, protested against the government and shouted slogans against the CM and the local administration at the Patna Medical College and Hospital, where the victims' bodies were brought for postmortem. The injured too have been admitted there for treatment.
A group of protestors were seen pelting stones at the police and hospital buildings. Some angry protestors chased Amir Subhani and Anjani Kumar Singh, principal secretary to the chief minister, when they reached the hospital to monitor the situation.
Subhani told newspersons that it was early to say what caused the incident. "We will let you know tomorrow (on Tuesday) after investigating the case," he said.
Bihar Director General of Police Abhyanand and several top rank police officials are camping at the PMCH owing to the high tension. "More than 300 police personnel have been deployed at the hospital," a police official said.
The tragedy has turned the festive mood in Patna somber. "It is difficult to believe that so many people have died due to negligence of officials in making a temporary bridge," Saket Singh, a businessman said.
Over 4 lakh people were gathered at different ghats in Patna for Chhath celebrations on Monday.