36 killed in stampede at Allahabad railway station

Allahabad, Feb 11 (IANS) At least 36 people were killed and over a dozen injured in an stampede following the collapse of an overbridge railing at the Allahabad railway station Sunday owing to the Kumbh Mela rush, an official said Monday.

"Thirty six people have been killed and more than a dozen people injured at the Allahabad station stampede. We have identified 20 of those killed, including 14 women and six men. Sixteen others are yet to be identified," a state government official said.

"We have set up a helpline at the Delhi railway station," Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had told reporters in Delhi late Sunday.

Though the minister did not specify the cause of the accident, he denied the claim of state government officials and said the railing of the over bridge did not break.

"As per my information, the railing did not break...we are trying to verify this," Bansal said.

A cane charge-prompted stampede preceded the tragedy at 7.15 p.m. on platform numbers 5 and 6 of the Allahabad railway station, which hosted over three crore (30 million) devotees at the Kumbh Mela's biggest bathing day of 'Mauni Amavasya', district officials said.

The tragedy occurred on the foot overbridge between platforms 5 and 6 when the railing collapsed due to overcrowding. Several people fell on the tracks and down the stairs, the officials said.

After the deaths, the Uttar Pradesh government requested the railways to shift some trains from the busy Allahabad station to the Prayag station on the outskirts of the city, 200 km from state capital Lucknow, an official said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of pilgrims in the stampede and directed central ministries, including the railways, to extend all possible help to the state government in relief operations.

Some witnesses said people were cane-charged by police just before the incident as the crowd was becoming unruly and plying of trains had come to a halt.

As soon as the bridge's railing broke, there was a stampede, another witness told IANS.

Abhijeet Das, a passenger on platform number 6, accused the police of cane-charge and said that it led to the stampede. "Medical help did not arrive for over two hours," he said.

Police cordoned off the area and closed entry into the station. Trains coming to the Sangam city were halted at the Prayag railway station.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, condoling the loss of life, ordered a probe.

"A committee, headed by the chairman of the revenue board, has been formed by the chief minister to look into the reasons leading to the tragedy," an official told IANS.

The state government also asked the railway ministry to ply more special trains so that the crowd in Allahabad could ease.

While north central railways (NCR) ran 17 special trains for the 'Mauni Amavasya', arrangements turned out to be insufficient.

"We made elaborate arrangements but there has been an unfortunate incident. Our first priority is to attend to the injured," said Sandeep Mathur, chief public relations officer of NCR.

The trains were meant to augment the crowds returning after a holy dip at the Kumbh Mela and take passengers to New Delhi, Indore, Kanpur, Varanasi, Ahmedabad and other places, a railway official said.

He said most people at the Allahabad railway station were headed to Fatehpur, Etawah, Tundla, Shikohabad, Firozabad, Aligarh, Khurja and Manikpur stations and hence the crowd became unmanageable and swelled to unexpected numbers.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Moores set for England recall

Moores set for England recall

The 51-year-old will succeed Andy Flower, who stepped down after five years in charge following the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia in January. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »