Allahabad: More than 20 people died and scores others were injured in a stampede at Allahabad Railway Station on Sunday.
Over three crore people had converged here to take a dip at the Sangam on the occasion of 'Mauni Amavasya'.
Special helpline numbers have been issued by Railways for the distressed to know about their relatives:
Allahabad: 0532 2408149, 0532 2408128
Kanpur: 0512 2323015, 0512 2323018
New Delhi: 011 23342954, 011 23341074
According to reports, the stampede occurred at platform no. 6 of the railway station after the railing of an overbridge collapsed.
The injured were rushed to nearest hospitals.
On the other hand some other reports suggest that the stampede occurred when police resorted to lathicharge in order to control the errant crowd at the Allahabad Railway Station.
However, 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 queue.
Meanwhile, Railways Minister PK Bansal Bansal said overcrowding at the platforms may have led to the stampede.
A police officer said an estimated 4,000 people were present at one single point at the site where the stampede occurred.
All the trains from the station have been put on hold, reports said.
Many of the injureds complained that it took the administration over over 2 hours to provide relief.
Following the stampede, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced a committee to probe into the incident.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent his condolence to those who lost their lives and also instructed the railway ministry to provide all possible assistance.
“I send my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved families and wish those injured a speedy recovery,” PM said.
PM directed the central government departments to extend all possible help to Uttar Pradesh government in relief operations.
Earlier today, two pilgrims were killed in a separate stampede at the Maha Kumbh.
The stampede broke out in Sector 12 of the mela area this evening killing a woman hailing from Varanasi and a middle-aged man, who had come from West Bengal, Sector Magistrate Abhay Raj said.
A few other persons received minor injuries in the stampede which occurred due to rush of devotees who were returning from the river banks, he said, adding the situation was under control and the injured were undergoing treatment.
A sea of humanity converged today at the sprawling city of tents, spread across 6,000 acres, making it briefly the most populous place in the world.
"As per our estimates, three crore people have taken a holy dip till 3 PM. The influx of visitors has slowed down a bit since then but the turn-out has already exceeded our expectations," Kumbh Mela Officer Mani Prasad Mishra said.
Devotees kept surging towards Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati throughout the day, while the 13 'akharas' (sects) of sadhus took out their processions for the second 'Shahi Snan' (royal bath) during the Maha Kumbh.
Amid chants of 'Har Har Gange', devotees including a fair sprinkling of foreigners, watched awestruck as 'naga sadhus' with their matted hair, ash-smeared naked bodies adorned with garlands of marigold and 'rudraksh' moved in processions with their 'Shri Mahants' and 'Mahamandaleshwars' (seers) perched atop decorated chariots, horses and elephants.
A number of VIPs, including political heavyweights, film stars and business tycoons have visited the Kumbh over the past few weeks. However, the administration had banned any film promotional activity in the Kumbh area to prevent any situation which could lead to a stampede.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013, 21:56