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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs