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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More