Deadly stampede at Hindu festival

A sadhu, or Hindu holy man, shouts while holding a 'trishul' (trident-shaped weapon} after taking a dip during the second 'Shahi Snan' (grand bath), of the ongoing Kumbh Mela in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
A sadhu, or Hindu holy man, shouts while holding a 'trishul' (trident-shaped weapon} after taking a dip during the second 'Shahi Snan' (grand bath), of the ongoing Kumbh Mela in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
At least 18 people have been killed in a stampede in the Indian city of Allahabad as Hindus returned from a river dip at the world's largest religious festival.

An overcrowded railway station footbridge buckled and a railing collapsed, sending some people slipping down the stairs and triggering the stampede, a top state government official told Reuters, not wishing to be quoted by name.

"I can confirm that 18 people have died and 13 have been injured," said the official.

Once every 12 years, tens of millions of pilgrims stream across India to the small northern city of Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh Mela, or Grand Pitcher Festival, at the point where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet a third, mythical river.

In the two months from the start of the festival in January, officials believe as many as 100 million people will have passed through a temporary city that covers an area larger than Athens on a wide sandy river bank.

Hindu holy men and pilgrims bathe in the sacred Ganges to wash away lifetimes of sins. Sunday was believed to be the most auspicious day of the festival.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock at the tragedy and promised financial assistance to the families of the dead.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Crossan Clarke Carnachan Chin ArchitectsArrowtownArchitects & Architectural Designers
First Aid SolutionsDunedinHoliday Parks
Pilates Studio - Back in MotionDunedin
K9 Care Centre & Training SolutionsDunedinAnimal Specialists