'Punish those responsible for Allahabad stampede'
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded investigation into a stampede following the collapse of an overbridge railing at the Allahabad railway station on Sunday owing to the Kumbh Mela rush.
BJP president Rajnath Singh said, "If precaution was taken from the start, this would not have happened.”
“Investigations need to be carried out, those responsible (for Allahabad stampede) need to be punished,” added Singh.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal accepted lack of arrangements due to huge turn up of people, but ruled out collapse of footover bridge or any railing on the railway station as the cause for stampede and death of 36 so far.
A cane charge-prompted stampede preceded the tragedy at 7.15 pm on platform numbers 5 and 6 of the Allahabad railway station, which hosted over three crore (30 million) devotees at the Kumbh Mela's biggest bathing day of 'Mauni Amavasya', district officials said.
After the deaths, the Uttar Pradesh government requested the railways to shift some trains from the busy Allahabad station to the Prayag station on the outskirts of the city, 200 km from state capital Lucknow, an official said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of pilgrims in the stampede and directed central ministries, including the railways, to extend all possible help to the state government in relief operations.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, condoling the loss of life, ordered a probe.
"A committee, headed by the chairman of the revenue board, has been formed by the Chief Minister to look into the reasons leading to the tragedy," an official told a news agency.
The state government also asked the Railway Ministry to ply more special trains so that the crowd in Allahabad could ease.
While north central railways (NCR) ran 17 special trains for the 'Mauni Amavasya', arrangements turned out to be insufficient.
The trains were meant to augment the crowds returning after a holy dip at the Kumbh Mela and take passengers to New Delhi, Indore, Kanpur, Varanasi, Ahmedabad and other places, a railway official said.
He said most people at the Allahabad railway station were headed to Fatehpur, Etawah, Tundla, Shikohabad, Firozabad, Aligarh, Khurja and Manikpur stations and hence the crowd became unmanageable and swelled to unexpected numbers.
(With IANS inputs)