Allahabad: The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday denied any lapses on its part in connection with the stampede at the Allahabad railway station on Sunday, even as the railways also said the incident did not occur because of them. And amidst the blame game, the death toll in the tragedy has climbed to 36, including 29 women and one child while 39 others have been injured.
Meanwhile, in a political fallout, Kumbh Mela in-charge Azam Khan has resigned citing moral responsibility, even as top Uttar Pradesh government officials said that responsibility could only be fixed after the probe is completed.
Union Minister for Railways, Pawan Kumar Bansal, has hinted that the state administration is to blame for the stampede, and has demanded the CCTV footage from the platform. The Minister said that all arrangements were being made by the railways for pilgrims to travel to and from Allahabad. "27 special trains have left from Kumbh at 10 am today. We are cancelling trains from other destinations to accommodate more trains for Kumbh," Bansal said.
The UP government has said that responsibility can be fixed only after the probe is complete.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav did not visit the victims as well as the spot even several hours after the incident as he was busy with his cousin's marriage.
Some of the state ministers were also present with Akhilesh at his cousin's marriage. Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, who was Kumbh in-charge, also did not visit Allahabad but was in Rampur and kept on issuing statements from there.
However, the state government remained defiant with state Panchayati Raj Minister Balram Yadav claiming that there were no lapses on the part of the state government. He further said, "It's our responsibility that the bodies of dead reach their families, they get compensation." Yadav, along with state Transport Minister Durga Prasad, was directed by the Chief Minister to go to Allahabad and oversee relied operations.
According to Uttar Pradesh DGP AC Sharma, a huge crowd gathered at platforms 4 and 6, and though police personnel tried to control the crowd, people surged from one end. He further said that the exact cause needs to be investigated.
Later, to a question whether the state government accepts failure on its part, Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani said, "If the incident has happened, there has to be some reason. We have to find out who is responsible for that. We need to probe."
He further said that the inquiry committee set up to investigate the stampede at the Allahabad railway station has been directed to submit its report within one month.
Taking a serious note of the stampede, Uttar Pradesh Governor BL Joshi summoned Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to take stock of the situation. The Governor, who was attending a meeting in Delhi, rushed back to Lucknow in the afternoon and summoned the Chief Minister, who had to return from Etawah where he had gone to attend his cousin's wedding.
(With Additional Inputs from PTI)