India: Lightning Kills 13 in West Bengal
India: Lightning kills 13 in West Bengal Reuters

At least 13 people have been killed and 20 others injured by lightning in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Most of the victims are believed to have been farmers and were in the fields when the lightning struck.

The majority of the fatalities took place in the three districts of Murshidabad, Burdwan and North Parganas. The injured have been taken to hospital for treatment.

The eastern state has been witnessing widespread pre-monsoon showers over recent days, as dry, cold air from Iran and Turkmenistan moves towards the south of the Himalayas, bringing severe weather which is locally known as kalboishakhi.

The stormy weather is generally accompanied by massive bolts of thunder, lightning and torrential rain which wreak havoc on the eastern Indian states and neighbouring Bangladesh.

The Indian weather department has said the conditions are likely to persist for the next few days.