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Hope fades for Indian dam tragedy victims

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More than 150 people have been swept away after the gates of a dam were opened as Hindus gathered on a riverbank to pray.

Officials said the bodies of 65 people had been traced so far but more than 90 remained missing.

Four boats and several divers scoured the water for survivors following the tragedy which happened on Saturday.

Unclaimed bodies lay on the river bank, swelling in the sun, the smell of death growing in the gathering heat of the north Indian summer.

"We found the body of a woman with a one-year-old dead child in her arms," police constable Ram Singh told Reuters.

Divers and lifeguards continue to search for more bodies.

The pilgrims had gathered on the banks of Narmada a day ahead of the new moon, a period which is considered auspicious by Hindus as they feel bathing in the holy river at this time would wash away their sins.

State authorities said the tragedy occurred after the gates of the Indira Sagar Dam, about 100 km (60 miles) upstream of Dharaji, were opened without warning.

But officials at the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC), which operates the dam, said they were not aware of the Hindu fair downstream.

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