ALLAHABAD, Uttar Pradesh — As many as 30 people were killed Sunday in a stampede at a train station here as millions gathered for a Hindu religious festival.
The stampede erupted on a platform of the main railway station in Allahabad as religious pilgrims passed through it on their way to the festival, Kumbh Mela on the banks of the Ganges River. Sunday was one of the busiest days of the 55-day festival; 30 million people were expected to take a dip in the Ganges River to cleanse themselves of sin.
About 30 bodies, covered in blue sheets and pieces of cloth, were visible on the train platform on Sunday evening. Several appeared to be children. The stampede was set off by railway delays, shoddy infrastructure and overcrowding, several witnesses said. Train services were severely delayed during the early evening, witnesses said, leaving growing numbers of passengers stranded in the small station.
The police initially said that panic spread after a railing broke on a footbridge over the tracks in the Allahabad station, sending a few people tumbling to their deaths. The tightly packed crowds rushed to get off the footbridge, and others were trampled. They later retracted this statement and attributed it to a rush on the steps leading to one of the platforms.