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More Than 20 Die in Stampede at India's Ganges Festival

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More than 20 people were killed in a stampede Sunday during a religious holiday in northern India.

Officials say the stampede broke out when pilgrims were heading home from a festival that attracted millions of people in the northern city of Allahabad.

The city's train station collapsed under the weight of pilgrims using the railway, causing crowds to panic.

Officials estimate that dozens of people were injured in the incident.

More than 30 million people gathered to plunge into the waters at the confluence of India's Ganges and Yamuna rivers. It is the most auspicious day of the Hindu festival, Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years. Devotees believe that entering the mighty rivers cleanses them of sin and frees them of the cycle of birth and rebirth.



The festival is believed to date back 2,000 years. The one at Allahabad is believed to be the holiest and attracts the largest crowd.

About 100 million pilgrims are expected to take a dip in the rivers during the 55-day festival that began last month.

Thousands of police were deployed to ensure security in the area Sunday.

Some eyewitnesses accused police of using batons on the crowds prior to the stampede.

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