Dozens of people died in northern India on Sunday when chaos at an overcrowded railroad station sparked a stampede. It is unclear what exactly caused the stampede at the Allahabad station in Uttar Pradesh, but railway authorities say travelers had disregarded temporary barriers set up in front of already packed platforms.
Authorities say 36 people were killed in the stampede and another 30 were injured. Hours after the incident, bodies still lay on the ground along with scattered pieces of luggage and other belongings. The injured will receive a payout of 100,000 rupees from the government and the families of the dead will receive 500,000 rupees.
Allahabad has seen an influx of tens of millions of people for the Kumbh Mela festival, or water-pitcher festival. The festival lasts from January 14 to March 10. Pilgrims from all over India come to bathe in the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers because drops of the “nectar of immortality” are said to have been dropped there during creation. Sunday was considered the holiest day of the event.
An estimated 40 million people attended the festival on Sunday. Over 12,000 police officers were on hand for security.
Uttar Pradesh officials have ordered an investigation into the stampede. The state’s urban development minister, Azam Khan, was in charge of security for the event. He resigned on Monday.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a statement saying he was "deeply shocked" by the incident. "I send my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved families and wish those injured a speedy recovery," he said.
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