More than 15 were killed in a stampede at the Maha Kumbh Mela on Sunday, as three crore pilgrims converged for a holy dip at Sangam on the auspicious occasion of ‘Mauni Amavasya’. Hunders were injured Trains were stopped.
The stampede broke out in Sector 12 of the kumbh mela area killing a woman from Varanasi and a middle-aged man, who had come for a holy dip from West Bengal.
Sector Magistrate Abhay Raj said the accident occurred due to heavy rush among devotees who were returning from the river banks. “The situation is under control and the injured are undergoing treatment,” he said.
A sea of humanity converged on Sunday at the sprawling city of tents, spread across 6,000 acres, making it briefly the most populous place in the world. “As per our estimates, three crore people have taken a holy dip till 3 pm. The influx of visitors has slowed down a bit since then but the turn-out has already exceeded our expectations,” Kumbh Mela Officer Mani Prasad Mishra said. Devotees kept surging towards Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati throughout the day, while the 13 ‘akharas’ (sects) of sadhus took out their processions for the second ‘Shahi Snan’ (royal bath) during the Maha Kumbh
The ritual of bathing started yesterday afternoon itself when ‘Mauni Amavasya’ began according to the Hindu almanac and reached its crescendo on Sunday morning. A steady stream of devotees was seen at railway stations and bus stations where people from nearby as well as far-off places took to roads and pathways all of which seemed to be leading towards the Sangam on this day. A railway station in the neighbouring district of Pratapgarh was vandalised on Sunday morning by people angry over non-availability of a special train for a trip to the holy Sangam
Tight security arrangements were in place with more than 15,000 security personnel drawn from central paramilitary forces like ITBP, CRPF, BSF and RAF besides the Uttar Police and its Provincial Armed Constabulary and Anti Terrorist Squad keeping a close vigil. Besides, the Army conducted aerial surveys every few minutes.<br><br>Prominent personalities who have visited the Kumbh are Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, BJP chief Rajnath Singh and other politicians including Subodh Kant Sahay and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Hinduja brothers, Anil Ambani with his mother Kokilaben, film producer Ekta Kapoor, actors Shilpa Shetty, Emraan Hashmi, Rajpal Yadav and Ashutosh Rana and stand-up comedian Raju Srivastava. A number of classical musicians like Pandit Jasraj, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Malini Awasthi also enthralled people with their performances at the Kumbh area