UP orders judicial probe into Allahabad stampede

  • IANS, Lucknow
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 18, 2013 10:02 IST
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    People crying after the stampede on a railway platform in Allahabad. PTI Photo

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    A woman, caught in a stampede, reacts after not finding her relative at the Railway Hospital in Allahabad (AFP photo)

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    People mourn the death of their relatives in stampede at Allahabad train station during the ongoing Kumbh Mela. PTI Photo

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    People shout for help after a stampede at Allahabad train station during the ongoing Kumbh Mela. PTI Photo

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    Policeman and rescuers carry body of victim of stampede at Allahabad train station during the ongoing Kumbh Mela. PTI Photo

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    More than 10 people were feared dead and 30 others injured in a stampede at Allahabad railway station (HT photo by Anil Maurya)

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    A woman weeps as she and other family members mourn next to the body of a relative who was killed in a stampede on a ...

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    An injured woman who survived a stampede on a railway platform is carried away at the main railway station in Allahabad (AP Photo)

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    A woman weeps as she watches from a staircase as rescue workers tend to the bodies of those killed in a stampede on a railway ...

Fearing further furore during the ongoing Budget Session of the state assembly, the Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a judicial probe into the stampede at the Allahabad railway station on February 11, which left 37 dead.

A state spokesman said chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had appointed retired Allahabad high court judge Justice Onkareshwar Bhatt to hold the probe. He is expected to submit a report to the state government within two months.

"The probe into the Mauni Amavasya stampede at the railway station has been handed over to a retired high court judge and we expect the report to be tabled within the next two months," RM Srivastava, principal secretary (home) told IANS.

The state government had earlier ordered the chairman of the revenue board Jagan Mathews to probe the incident but the official, after a week, had not initiated any proceedings in the probe.

The oppostion parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had attacked the state government for failing to save precious lives during Kumbh. In protest, the opposition had not allowed Governor BL Joshi to speak at the inaugural session of the state assembly last week.

Fearing that the parties will now not allow the budget speech of the chief minister, the Uttar Pradesh government swung into action late Sunday, and after a political nod to the judicial probe, announced a time-bound probe.

Senior officials told IANS that the decision to order a judicial probe was taken after a "threadbare scrutiny of its own arrangements at the Kumbh."

"Once it was found that the district and the Kumbh Mela administration had virtually no negative role in the tragedy, a political decision was taken to allow a judicial probe," a senior official at the chief minister's office said.

With more than 30 million people gathering for the ritual bath on Mauni Amavasya day,  arrangements for crowd control at the city railway station had collapsed, leading to a stampede at a foot overbridge and staircase connecting platforms 5 and 6, when panicky passengers rushed to board a train whose arrival was announced on the public address system.

While 36 people died on the spot, one succumbed to injuries later.


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