News / Asia

    Death Toll Rises in India Stampede

    An Indian man whose two relatives died in a stampede at a railway station cries and comforts other relative as they arrive to take the bodies from a morgue, in Allahabad, India, February 11, 2013.
    An Indian man whose two relatives died in a stampede at a railway station cries and comforts other relative as they arrive to take the bodies from a morgue, in Allahabad, India, February 11, 2013.
    Anjana Pasricha
    In India, the death toll at a deadly stampede in the northern Allahabad city, where a Hindu religious festival is under way, has gone up to 36. More than 30 others have been injured. The tragedy occurred on the holiest day of the 55-day festival, billed as the world’s largest religious gathering.      

    Thousands of policemen and paramilitary forces were deployed to manage a crowd of 30 million devotees who had gathered on the busiest day of the Hindu festival to take a dip in the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers at Allahabad.

    But the deadly crush took place not in the temporary city where devotees gather, but at the nearby rail station from where pilgrims transit to and from the Kumbh Mela. Many of those killed or injured were women.

    There were conflicting reports about what happened at the rail station.  

    Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal says the number of people who had gathered at the station was much higher than it could accommodate, resulting in a stampede.  
     
    He denied reports that the hand railing on a foot bridge gave way under the weight of the crowd.  

    Bansal says arrangements were adequate, and he attributed the tragedy to overcrowding.

    Some pilgrims at the station say police used batons to control the crowds, triggering panic.

    Eyewitnesses say ambulances could not reach the victims in time, because of the masses thronging the station and the streets outside.    

    The railways operate dozens of special trains to accommodate the massive influx into the town during festival. The crowds swell hugely on six days regarded by astrologers as the most auspicious. Sunday was the holiest of these days.

    • Relatives look at the photos of victims who died in a stampede at a railway station outside a morgue at a hospital, in Allahabad, India, Feb. 11, 2013.
    • A family whose relative died in a stampede at a railway station cry and comfort each other as they arrive at the morgue, in Allahabad, India, Feb. 11, 2013.
    • People who were injured in a stampede are treated inside a hospital in the northern Indian city of Allahabad, Feb. 11, 2013.
    • A woman stands on a platform near where a stampede took place a night before, at the station in Allahabad, India, Feb. 11, 2013.
    • Indians crowd on a train on platform six near where a stampede took pace a night before, at a station in Allahabad, India, Feb. 11, 2013.
    • Hindu pilgrims sit on railways tracks as they wait to board their trains at an overcrowded railway station in the northern Indian city of Allahabad Feb. 11, 2013.
    • Hindu devotees rest under the roots of a giant tree during the Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad, India, Feb. 11, 2013.
    • A Hindu holy man applies vermillion as he waits on platform 6 to leave the station in Allahabad, India, Feb. 11, 2013.
    • A Hindu holy man shouts while holding a "trishul" or trident-shaped weapon after taking a dip during the second grand bath of the ongoing Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, Feb. 10, 2013.

    The event, held every 12 years, is known as the world’s largest religious gathering attracting as many as 100 million devotees over 55 days.  Hindus believe a dip in the holy waters at Hindu religion’s most sacred spot cleanses their sins.

    The manager of the Kumbh Mela, Om Prakash Srivastava, told VOA that the crowds on Sunday were unprecedented.  

    He says devotees are still pouring in to the festival, but the numbers have lessened and they are not expecting crowds of the same magnitude. He says considering the size of the crowd, the best arrangements sometimes do not suffice.

    Stampedes have taken place at religious gatherings and temples on several occasions, prompting calls for better crowd management strategies in a country where it is common for hundreds of thousands of people to congregate at such events.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora