- In addition to the dead, over 30 were hurt in Allahabad, a railway spokesman says
- The rail station stampede mars the world's largest religious festival
- An estimated 40 million Hindu pilgrims came to bathe in the Ganges River
- India's prime minister says he's "deeply shocked" by the deaths
A railroad station crush left 36 people dead Sunday among tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims flocking to the banks of the Ganges River for the world's largest religious gathering, authorities reported.
The stampede occurred about 7 p.m. after someone fell from a platform bridge in Allahabad, the scene of this year's Kumbh Mela festival, North-Central Railway spokesman Sandeep Mathur said. He said the station was overcrowded with pilgrims, but denied reports that the bridge had collapsed.
In addition to the 36 killed, more than 30 people were injured in the stampede, according to Mathur. Earlier, 10 people were reported dead.
An estimated 40 million people came to Allahabad, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, on Sunday to bathe at the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges rivers and the mythical Saraswati River. It's the most significant Hindu pilgrimage, occurring every 12 years, Indian cultural and political observer K. G. Suresh said.
"The Hindus believe that a dip in the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the Saraswati on this occasion helps get rid of all worldly sins," Suresh said.