At least 36 Kumbh Mela devotees died due to a stampede at Allahabad railway station on Sunday. It is being said that the toll may go up as a number of critically injured devotees have been admitted to Medical College Hospital in the city.
There are three conflicting reports about the cause of stampede; one report said that the incident occurred after some people slipped on the stairs at platform number six. Another one said that the railing of on over bridge broke and devotees fell down, leading to a stampede. Yet another report said that stampede occurred due to a police lathi charge to control the crowd on the platform.
It is said that several lakhs devotees reached the station to board trains after their auspicious Mauni Amavasya dip in Sangam on Sunday, much beyond the capacity of the railway station. In addition, there were not enough trains to accommodate the unprecedented rush.
According to Uttar Pradesh Minister for Urban Development, Azam Khan, who is also the minister in-charge of Maha Kumbh Mela, at least 20 deaths have been caused due the stampede at Allahabad railway station. According to some estimates, over three crore devotees descended on the city on this most auspicious occasion of the Maha Kumbh.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 1 lakh each to the seriously injured. Union Railway Minister Pawan Bansal said special trains were being arranged for the passengers returning from Allahabad.
Expressing condolences to the members of the bereaved families, PM Manmohan Singh said that he was deeply shocked by the incident at Allahabad railway station, in which precious lives have been lost and other many pilgrims injured.