February 10th, 2013
03:06 PM ET

Ten killed in India festival stampede

At least 10 people died Sunday in a railroad station stampede in northern India as tens of millions flocked to the banks of the Ganges River for a Hindu religious festival, a railway spokesman said.

The crush took place in Allahabad, the site of this year's Kumbh Mela festival, where Hindu pilgrims gather to bathe in the Ganges. Railway spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena blamed overcrowding for the crush, but said details were "sketchy."

There was no immediate comment from police or officials from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. But Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was "deeply shocked" by the deaths and promised to extend "all possible help" to state authorities.

"I send my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved families and wish those injured a speedy recovery," Singh said in a statement issued by his office.

Kumbh Mela is billed as the world's largest religious gathering and the holiest of Hindu pilgrimages. Devotees believe that washing themselves in the Ganges frees them from past sins.

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Filed under: Hinduism • India • Religion