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Death toll in stampede in northern India rises to 36


13:54, February 11, 2013

• At least 36 people are confirmed dead and several others injured in a stampede in Allahabad Sunday.
• The incident happened at the town's main railway station.
• Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed grief over the incident.

Backgrounder: World's major stampede incidents since 2010
NEW DELHI, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- At least 36 people, including an eight-year-old girl, are now confirmed dead and several others injured in a stampede which broke out at a busy railway station in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh's holy town of Allahabad Sunday night, a senior police official said Monday.

The incident happened at the town's main railway station when millions of devotees were returning to their respective home states after taking a dip in the sangam, the confluence of the river Ganges and Yamuna, on the occassion of the Hindu holy festival of Maha Kumbh which started last month.

"The stampede broke out after a railing of an over-bridge at the station collapsed suddenly. While 22 people were killed on the spot, some 14 others succumbed to their injuries. The other injured have been admitted to local hospitals where the conditions of some are said to be serious," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The death toll may rise later in the day, doctors say.

Local TV channels showed footage of angry devotees blaming police for the incident, with many accusing cops of charging batons to control crowd at the railway station, triggering the stampede. Some devotees also alleged that there have been delays in rushing the injured to hospitals, which could have saved many of those hurt.

The state government has refuted the allegations and ordered a probe into the incident while announcing compensation up to 500, 000 Indian rupees (10,000 U.S. dollars) each to the families of the deceased.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed grief over the incident and ordered the Railways Ministry to do the needful.

The country's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has also condoled the deaths of the devotees and the party chief Rajnath Singh also spoke to the state Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh and took stock of the situation.

Millions of Hindu devotees from across the country go to Allahabad during Maha Kumbh every year to take a dip in the confluence of the river Ganges and Yamuna, which they believe washes away their sins.

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