Allahabad Stampede Death Toll Rises to 36
In a stampede at Allahabad railway station at least 36 people were killed and scores of others injured, report sources. Last night, at least 26 people were declared dead in the stampede.
The tragedy occurred when the railing of a foot overbridge collapsed, as thousands of devotees arrived to catch trains to leave for their respective destinations after taking holy dip in River Ganges at Maha Kumbh Mela.
The UP government has ordered an inquiry into the stampede and asked the Railways to make proper arrangements to clear rush of devotees.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock at the tragedy and promised financial assistance to the families of the dead.
Over 30 million pilgrims took a dip on the occasion of 'Mauni Amavasya', considered the most auspicious day during the 12-yearly congregation, at Sangam - the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.
The local authorities, railway officials and other volunteers took the injured to the nearby hospital.
"We are not sure of about number of deaths in the stampede at Allahabad Railway Station, but as per my information at least 10 persons have died and 12 to 13 are injured. The injured have been admitted to hospital for treatment," said Railways Minister Pawan Bansal.
He also mentioned that his ministry has arranged more trains to ferry people from Allahabad.
Meanwhile, the government of Uttar Pradesh announced rupees 5,00,000 compensation to kin of deceased and 1,00,000 to injured persons.
Officials believe that during two months as many as 100 million people visit the site of the Mela that covers an area larger than Athens on a wide sandy river bank. That would make it larger even than previous festivals.
More than 2,000 years old, the festival is a meeting point for the Hindu Sadhus (ascetics) and monks, some of whom live in forests or Himalayan caves, and who belong to dozens of inter-related congregations.