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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid