Several million people frantically exited the Ganges River at its confluence with the Yamuna River on Tuesday during the second day of the Hindu Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad after an 11-year-old boy urinated in the water, Indian media is reporting.
This is the first time that the event, which takes place every 12 years and is billed as the biggest gathering on Earth, has been interrupted due to poor hygienic conditions. The concerns about sanitation were prompted by a child identified only as “T.P.”, who reportedly urinated in the river on purpose.
The boy’s prank will result in a temporary interruption of the festival, to allow time for the river to wash his bodily fluids far from the worshippers. The more than 100 million people who are expected to attend the 55-day festival are currently on standby, though insiders say the urine is almost out and the river, and that it is nearly clean enough for the pilgrims to bathe in again.
The panic ensued after the teams managing crowds on the riverbank noticed a funny smell coming from the water. Once urine sensors reacted with the bodily fluid, the surrounding water turned green and crowd control immediately called out a “piss warning”, prompting millions of people to stampede out of the Ganges.
“It was a horrible thing to do, to piss in the water while we are cleansing ourselves from sin.
The boy is clearly a misfit,” said one of the pilgrims closest to the danger zone as he shivered, still dripping wet, beside the riverbank. “Half an hour tops, then it will be safe to come back, they said,” he added.