Allahabad: In a major tragedy on the most auspicious day of the Maha Kumbh on Sunday, at least 36 pilgrims were killed and over 30 people were injured in a stampede at the Allahabad railway station. Authorities fear the death toll could rise further and 17 bodies are still to be identified. Eyewitnesses say a police lathicharge triggered the chaos.
Giving the details of those dead, Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani said among those dead were seven men, 29 women including one baby girl. He added that 39 others were injured of whom 36 are serious.
"The platform was meant for passengers who had reservations and for the ladies special. But there was no room for the other crowds that started pouring in. The arrangements were in place," Allahabad railway DIG Adhiram Sharma said.
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.
Railway Minister PK Bansal dismissed the reports of the collapse of a foot overbridge at the Allahabad railway station and said adequate arrangements were made at the station. "The reports of foot-over bridge collapsing are not true. There were too many people on the foot-over bridge, which led to the stampede. Railway arrangements were adequate," Bansal said.
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Monday resigned from the post of the incharge of the Maha Kumbh Mela over the stampede that left 37 people dead at the Allahabad Railway Station. "I take the responsibility of the fiasco," Azam Khan said.