On a day the Maha Kumbh saw its highest turnout of 30 million on its most auspicious day, a railing of a pedestrian bridge at Allahabad junction station collapsed, killing at least 24 and leaving an equal number injured. Among the dead were 18 women and six men.
Earlier in the day, a minor stampede at the Kumbh grounds had resulted in the death of two persons and left five critically injured.
Part of the railing collapsed as a huge crowd made its way towards platform 6 to board a Howrah-bound train on Sunday night. They were pilgrims getting back from taking holy dips in the Ganga on Mauni Amavasya — which marked the second of the three royal baths (shahi snan). Some said inferior material may have been used for the newly-constructed bridge.
But North-Central Railway chief PRO Sandeep Mathur denied any railing had broken and blamed the accident on the crowd.
With pilgrims and tourists from all over coming to town for the 55-day Kumbh, the Allahabad station was running special trains.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh and Rs1 lakh for the dead and injured, respectively.