Grief Giving Way to Rage Among Stampede Survivors

Grief seems to be giving way to rage among survivors of the Allahabad Railway Station stampede here as officials today faced a tough time pacifying family members of those declared dead or undergoing treatment for injuries.

At the Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital in the city where at least 25 injured persons are admitted, some of them in a critical condition, Divisional Commissioner of Allahabad Devesh Chaturvedi and Dr S P Singh, Principal of Motilal Nehru Medical College to which the hospital is attached, were gheraoed by people angry over "lack of proper care and facilities".

The officials, who had visited the hospital to take stock of the relief work, had a tough time assuaging the frayed tempers.

Some of the bereaved people complained teary-eyed that they were being prevented from taking away the bodies of their near and dear ones.

The official requested them to "have patience till the post-mortem and other formalities" were complete.

Similar scenes were witnessed at the Railway hospital, situated close to the station, where 14 others who have sustained injuries in the stampede that had occurred near platform number 6, are undergoing treatment.

Those who managed to escape from the tragedy with minor bruises gave divergent accounts of what could have triggered the stampede at around 7 PM yesterday.

Ajay Kumar from Banda said, "We were told that our train will be available at platform number 4. While crossing the foot over-bridge, we heard an announcement over the loudspeaker that the train will be coming on platform number 6.

"We started running back, trying to plough through a huge crowd headed in the opposite direction.In the process, some of the people tripped and people started falling over each other," he said.

However, Praveen from Sonepat in Haryana blames the incident on "lathi charge by police".

Praveen said, "There was a very huge crowd trying to descend from the over-bridge to catch their train on platform number 6. Unable to handle the situation, policemen began wielding their batons. Had they acted more sensibly, the stampede could have been avoided".

The allegation of baton charge has, however, been denied by both Divisional Railway Manager Harindra Rao and DIG (Railway) Lalji Shukla.

Meanwhile, the railway station is once again teeming with people waiting for the earliest possible opportunity to catch a train that could take them safely to their homes.

Movement of passengers had yesterday been suspended for a few hours to facilitate the rescue operations.

However, the trail of the destruction that people suffered in their quest for salvation appears evident at the portion of the foot over-bridge leading to the ill-fated platform with heaps of slippers, luggage, water bottles and bangles lying strewn in a grim reminder of the bathing festival at the ongoing Kumbh Mela.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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