Two days after stampede, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav visits Allahabad

Two days after stampede, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav visits Allahabad

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Allahabad Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav reached Allahabad today, almost two days after 36 people were killed in stampede at a railway station in the city. After reaching the city, he visited the stampede site; the chief minister also met the injured at a hospital.

The UP government has set up an enquiry which they say will be completed within a month. Officials denied reports that the crisis was caused by the collapse of a pedestrian bridge, or a misguided lathi or baton charge by the police on the passengers.

"All answers will be revealed in the probe. It will not be right to blame anyone without investigation, please wait for the report to come out," Mr Yadav said today.

"I hope that the rest of the Kumbh events will take place peacefully, arrangements are in place," he added.

The Union and state governments have both denied that their lapses may have contributed to the tragedy; they blame the massive rush of passengers, returning from a dip in the waters of the Ganga and Yamuna, at the Maha Kumbh, the world's largest religious festival.

"The railing or the foot overbridge did not break, there were a lot of people. There are still some unidentified bodies. Compensation will be given to the families of the deceased and the injured," the chief minister said.

Azam Khan, a senior Cabinet minister in his government, has resigned as the head of Kumbh Mela Management Committee "on moral grounds."

Three crore people were in Allahabad on Sunday, believed to be the most auspicious day of the Maha Kumbh, which takes place once every 12 years. In the evening, the station, which can accommodate 40,000 people, was packed with lakhs of travellers.

Union Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said enough trains had been provided for the huge crowds. "The entire Railway system of India ferries 2.3 crore people each day. Even if we have trains at 10-minute intervals at Allahabad, managing 3 crore people may not be possible," he said.

"Suddenly there were at least a hundred people on top of me," recalled Shashi Bhaduri, lying on a hospital bed.

For almost two hours after the tragedy, there was only one doctor available to attend to the injured at the station, said others.

The youngest victim, eight-year-old Muskaan, lay injured on the platform for over two hours, before railway officials shifted her to hospital, her parents said. She died on Monday morning.

Story First Published: February 12, 2013 11:50 IST

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