Agencies, Kumbhangar The Mahakumbh mela area on the banks of the Sangam, the confluence of holy river Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, is still brimming with several lakh devotees who has been advised to stay back due to heavy crowds outside.
The announcements, by the mela administration on loudspeakers, urged the pilgrims not to leave for their destinations till advised. As per an estimate, about one crore devotees are still there in the mela area majority of them waiting to move out if the situation permitted. ‘The railway stations of Allahabad and Prayag are still full of people and the city of Allahabad is also jam packed and the advisory is issued to prevent yesterday-like incident in which 36 pilgrims had died in a stampede at Allahabad railway station,’a mela spokesman told.
More than 2.5 crore devotees had turned out to take a holy dip in the Sangam on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya but their return journey was delayed due to poor crowd access control devices and lack of coordination between mela administration and railways. Meanwhile, as many as 22 special trains had departed till this morning to evacuate Allahabad railway station, where thousands of passengers were still waiting for the trains. ‘We are feeling the same crowd pressure as it was yesterday,’’ a senior police officer said. Allahabad Commissioner Devesh Chaturvedi had to face the wrath of the attendants of those who were injured in the last evening stampede and admitted to SRN hospital in Allahabad. Mr Chaturvedi had to face some unruly scenes when he went to see the injured. The devotees, however, are undeterred by the situation and taking holy dip in the Sangam where all the ghats were full to their capacity.
36 dead in stampede at Allahabad
Agencies, Allahabad: Death toll in the stampede at the Allahabad Junction railway station has reached 36 even as more than one lakh pilgrims are still waiting outside the station to catch trains for their destination.
Railway officials here today announced that 36 people have died in the incident so far. Chief Medical Officer(CMO) Dr Padmakar said here last night said 31 people have died in the stampede that occurred near a rail overbridge at platform number 6 of the station at around 1900 hrs yesterday. Of the deaths, the CMO had said nine bodies are kept at the Railway hospital, 21 at SRN Hospital and one in Bailly hospital.
The railways have diverted around 50 trains to Allahabad after the incident to clear the rush of the pilgrims on the directives of the Railway minister Pawan Bansal. However, the railways and the Uttar Pradesh government blame each other for the incident. While the railways claim that sudden arrival of around 2 lakh people in the station created the chaos, the UP govt alleged tht the railways were not prepared for such occasion even after several intimation from the government. Uttar Pradesh government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakhs for the family of the deceased while the injured would be given Rs one lakh each.
Confusion prevailed over the reason behind the incident, as an eye witness claimed that police lathicharged the people sitting on the over-bridge waiting for their trains led to stampede. Sudden change of platform of the trains could be another reason for the stampede. Railway authorities also refused that the railing of the over-bridge had collapsed and blamed that police lathicharge was the reason behind the incident. Delay in providing medical aid to the injured was the main reason for increase in the death toll.