Initial shock and disbelief over the tragedy that killed 36 at the Allahabad railway station on Sunday evening, has now given way to wrath.
The residents as well as the large number of pilgrims still in the city are seething in anger, almost all of them holding the administration, police and railway authorities responsible for the catastrophe.
Ram Prakash, waiting to reach Delhi since Sunday, was still on the platform on Monday, awaiting a train. The railway authorities had told him that a train would leave for Delhi at 3.30 pm but later extended the departure of the train to 10.30 pm. Why was the train being delayed when it had to leave from here only? he asked angrily. He blamed the administration, police and railway authorities for the stampede. “They kept selling tickets even when there were no trains,” he alleged, demanding sacking of officials responsible for the torture and death of pilgrims.
A livid Shalini Gupta, another passenger, threatened to mobilise passengers and stage dharna and demonstration at the station if the train to Delhi was not arranged soon. Several pilgrims who came to know about the visit of railway minister Pawan Bansal, tried to reach the control room where the media persons were addressed. Some of them voiced their anger against the railways to the journalists waiting for the arrival of the minister.
Several others stranded on the platform were critical of the authorities concerned and wanted the government to act against them with a heavy hand.
Residents of the city were all for a judicial inquiry. Other inquiries might defend the guilty, said Daya Shankar Dubey from Allahpur. According to him, the mela authorities, police and railway should all be taken to task as each had its own share of responsibility.
As mismanagement was witnessed all day long at the five permanent and four temporary depots of the UPSRTC on Monday, some passengers threw stones at buses and broke a few windowpanes before they were pacified by officials. The trouble arose after drivers and conductors at Civil Lines and KP College bus depots refused to run buses after many passengers sat on the roof.
After the chaos, officials decided to deploy majority of the long-route buses to the Allahabad-Gorakhpur and Fatehpur-Kanpur-Delhi route. The regional office decided to run buses every 15 minutes on these routes.
Managing director of UPSRTC, Alok Kumar, ordered all the 17 regional managers in the state to start diverting buses to Allahabad.