At least 12 pilgrims were killed and 30 others injured as a tractor trolley, they were travelling in, collided with a speeding train at Unchahar railway crossing in Rae Bareli early Sunday, disrupting rail traffic on the section, police said.
The mishap occured at around 9 AM when a tractor trolley, carrying 65 pilgrims to Allahabad for a holy dip in the Sangam - the convergence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the now invisible Sarswati during the ongoing Magh Mela, hit the Allahabad-Kanpur passenger train, Superintendent of Police Tarun Gaba told reporters.
Nine persons were killed on the spot, whereas three others died during treatment, he said, adding that 30 injured are still admitted to the district hospital, where condition of a few is stated to be critical.
Conflicting versions as to how the accident took place were given by the police and railway authorties, prompting the District Magistrate Santosh Kumar Srivastava to order an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the mishap.
The police claimed that the gate at the railway crossing was non-functional for sometime and the gangman deployed there was using iron chains to regulate the road traffic.
However, the Northern Railway sources in New Delhi said the accident took place when the truck in a hurry to cross to the other side dashed a closed manned level crossing and hit the approaching train.
Rail traffic on Rae Bareli-Unchahar section was disrupted for sometime after the incident, while movement of vehicles on Allahabad-Lucknow highway was hit for several hours.