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36 dead in Allahabad station stampede, probe underway

Last updated on: February 11, 2013 09:04 IST

36 dead in Allahabad station stampede, probe underway

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The death toll in the stampede at Allahabad railway station reached 36 on Monday, with 14 more people succumbing to their injuries.

Chief Medical Officer-Allahabad Dr Prabhakar confirmed the toll, saying 14 more people died during treatment.

Many injured are being treated at the railway hospitals and the SRN Hospital here, he said.

The victims include 26 women, 9 men and a child, official sources said, adding bodies of 20 of the deceased have been identified.

The stampede occurred at 7 pm on Sunday at Platforms No 5 and 6 where thousands of passengers, mostly Maha Kumbh devotees returning after taking the holy dip at the Sangam, had gathered to board a train.

Special helpline numbers have been issued by the Railways for the distressed to know about their relatives:

Allahabad: 0532 2408149, 0532 2408128
Kanpur: 0512 2323015, 0512 2323018
New Delhi: 011 23342954, 011 23341074

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Image: Women grieve for their relatives after part of a railing from a bridge collapsed and triggered a stampede at Allahabad railway station
Photographs: Reuters

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Eyewitnesses said the stampede at Platform No 6 was triggered near a foot overbridge when hundreds of passengers rushed to board a train whose arrival was being announced in a public address system. Platform No 6 was later sealed by authorities.

The bodies of some of the victims shrouded in white cloth were kept at the platform for several hours.

Several eyewitnesses said there was a lathicharge by the police that compounded the panic, but Divisional Railway Manager Harinder Rao that claimed passengers were not baton charged and that police only attempted to regulate the movement of the crowd at the platforms by asking passengers to stand in line.

Preliminary reports said the stampede broke out when the railing leading to a footbridge collapsed but Railways Minister P K Bansal discounted such a possibility saying this had not happened.

Bansal said overcrowding at the platforms may have led to the stampede. A police officer said an estimated 4,000 people were present at one single point at the site where the stampede occurred.

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Photographs: Reuters

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36 dead in Allahabad station stampede, probe underway

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy and instructed Railway ministry to provide all possible assistance.

Singh also directed central government departments to extend all possible help to Uttar Pradesh government in relief operations.

The UP government ordered an inquiry into the stampede and asked the Railways to make proper arrangements to clear rush of devotees and sanctioned an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the kin of each of the dead persons.

"The state government has ordered an inquiry into the entire incident. The 'snan' at Kumbh was completed without any problem...the unfortunate incident took place at the railway station. Chief Minister AKhilesh Yadav has ordered an inquiry into the incident", SP spokesman and cabinet minister Rajendra Chowdhury said.

Over three crore people had converged for a holy dip on the occasion of 'Mauni Amavasya' on Sunday, a day considered the most auspicious day during the 12-yearly congregation. A total of 112 trains routinely passes through Allahabad and an additional 49 special trains were being operated.

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Image: Passengers crowd together at a platform after part of a railing from a bridge collapsed at Allahabad railway station
Photographs: Reuters

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Both the DIG Railway and the DRM have denied reports that a portion of the banister collapsed under the weight of passengers jostling for space on the over-bridge.

Following the mishap, the railways suspended movement of trains for a couple of hours to carry out the relief work.

According to sources in the railway hospital and the SRN Hospital, most of the injured, which include around 10 women, were from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who had come to the station on foot in view of the massive traffic restrictions near the Kumbh Mela site.

BJP leader Uma Bharti, who visited the accident site and later met the injured, questioned the arrangements made by Railways ahead of the religious gathering.

Meanwhile, a number of volunteers have joined the relief work and are offering assistance at the railway station, the railway hospital and the SRN Hospital.


Photographs: Reuters

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