Allahabad: Thirty six people died in a stampede at Allahabad railway station when an overbridge railing collapsed due to heavy rush yatris attending Kumb Mela. Dispatch News Desk reports on Monday. Eyewitnesses said the stampede at Platform No 6 was triggered at 7 pm on Sunday near a foot overbridge when hundreds of passengers rushed to board a train whose arrival was being announced in a public address system.
Indian Railway Minister Pawan Bansal announced that one lakh rupees each to the kin of the victims as compansation. Many injured are being treated at the railway hospitals and the SRN Hospital here. The victims include 26 women, nine men and a child, official sources said, adding bodies of 20 of the deceased have been identified. The bodies of some of the victims shrouded in white cloth were kept at the platform for several hours.
A lathicharge by the police also compounded the panic but Divisional Railway Manager Harinder Rao 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.
Bansal today blamed huge rush of people for stampede at the foot-over-bridge. “There has been no collapse of foot-over-bridge or any railing on the station. I want to clear that stampede occurred due to people reaching in large numbers. We had made arrangements before start of the Kumbh. We have come to know that people turned in large numbers resulting in stampede,” he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy and instructed the 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 has 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. Chairman Revenue Board has been asked by the Chief Minister to inquire into the incident and submit his report to him.
Over three crore people had converged for a holy dip on the occasion of ‘Mauni Amavasya’ yesterday, 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 yesterday. Following the mishap, the Railways suspended movement of trains for a couple of hours to carry out the relief work.
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.