Eleven people have died from heatstroke while many others have been admitted to hospital after attending an awards ceremony in India’s Maharashtra state.

The government-sponsored event took place in an open ground under a blazing sun and lasted for several hours.

Thousands of people attended Sunday’s event, which was held to felicitate a prominent social activist.

Many people complained of dehydration and other heat-related ailments after attending the function.

Navi Mumbai, a city close to financial hub Mumbai where the event was held, recorded a maximum temperature of 38C on Sunday. Health experts have advised people to stay out of the sun during the peak heat hours of 11am to 4pm, especially during April, which is considered to be one of the hottest months in India.

Photos of the event show thousands sitting directly under the sun, with no roof or covering providing any kind of shelter.

Officials told the media that refreshments had been provided at the venue through the day and that booths had been set up to provide medical aid to people, but opposition parties alleged that the event was mismanaged and that it should not have been held at this time of the year.

The event was organized at the Kharghar International Corporate Park grounds to confer an award on social worker Dattatreya Narayan Dharmadhikari, popularly known as Appasaheb Dharmadhikari.

BBC/Adebukola Aluko

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