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Kumbh tragedy: President, PM, Sonia convey condolences

August 27, 2003 19:55 IST
Last Updated: August 27, 2003 23:07 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Wednesday conveyed his condolences to Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde over the tragedy at the Nashik Kumbh Mela in which 39 people were killed in a stampede.

Kalam has also sent his prayers to those who have been injured and hoped for their early recovery.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee expressed deep shock and grief.

Describing the stampede as 'tragic and unfortunate', he conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery to the injured.

Vajpayee is in Srinagar for the Inter-State Council meeting and is being kept posted with the latest situation, an official release said.

It said the Maharashtra government has been asked to provide all necessary assistance to the injured.

Complete coverage of the Kumbh Mela

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also expressed deep shock over the tragedy.

"I am deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of lives in the stampede. This has been a painful week for the nation and especially for Maharashtra, which had experienced twin blasts in Mumbai two days back," she said.

In a statement in Delhi, Gandhi said, "Everything must be done to ensure that such incidents do not recur".

Stating that such stampedes were sadly a recurring feature during holy and auspicious events, Gandhi said, "My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones in the appalling tragedy at Nashik. I deeply mourn the loss of innocent lives. May their souls rest in peace."

Gandhi said stringent rules need to be imposed by the authorities to control the flow of crowds, and to do this effectively the cooperation of the pilgrims was needed as well. PTI

Maharashtra Governor Mohammad Fazal also condoled the deaths.

In a message, Fazal said he was at a loss of words to express his grief for the innocent devotees who lost their lives at the Kumbh Mela.

"Today was an important day at the Kumbh Mela and it is a great tragedy that many of our brothers and sisters, who had gathered at Nashik from their respective places for a holy dip, had to perish in this manner," it said.

"May their souls rest in peace. I express my heartfelt condolences to the relatives of those who died in the incident, and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured", it added.

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