On 10 February 2013, during the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela, a stampede broke out at the train station in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, killing 36 people and injuring at least 39.
Kumbh Mela is a major Hindu religious festival that is held every 3 years in 4 rotating places. The 2013 event is considered a Maha Kumbh Mela, which comes around only once every 144 years. It lasts 55 days and is expected to be attended by 100 million pilgrims, making it the largest temporary gathering of people in the world.
A temporary city covering an area larger than Athens was set up to accommodate the crowds. Sunday, 10 February was considered the most auspicious day and 30 million people descended to Allahabad to bathe at the confluence of the Yamuna and the Ganges rivers.
According to initial reports, the stampede broke out after a railing on a footbridge collapsed at the Allahabad railway station. Eyewitnesses, however, said that the stampede was triggered after the railway police charged at the crowd with wooden sticks in order to control the huge rush at the station. 36 people were killed by the crush of people, including 26 women, 9 men, and an eight-year-old girl who died after waiting almost two hours for help. At least 39 people were injured in addition.
In an unrelated event earlier that day, two people were killed in another stampede.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed condolences and offered compensation to the affected people. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has constituted a committee to probe the stampede. Uttar Pradesh’s Panchayati Raj minister, Balram Yadav said that the inquiry would be launched and completed within a month.On 11 February 2013, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, who was in charge of the Kumbh Mela, took responsibility for the stampede and resigned. Praising the minister for his sincere work, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, rejected Khan’s resignation.