BJP demands Railway Minister Bansal's resignation over Allahabad stampede tragedy
New Delhi, Feb. 11 : Asking Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal to take moral responsibility for Sunday night's Allahabad railway station stampede, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday said the former should resign to keep up the high standards in public life.
The stampede, which claimed 36 lives, occurred on platform number five where thousands of Kumbh devotees had gathered to board a train.
"The Kumbh Mela is the biggest religious gathering in the world, and I don't think that Railway Minister Pawan Bansal had paid even a single visit to see as to how the system is functioning. Since the Railway Minister is so indifferent to the whole thing, as a result the indifference percolated to the lower authorities. Keeping the high moral standard of the public life, he must step down," said BJP leader Balbir Punj.
"The tragedy at the Allahabad Railway station during the Kumbh Mela, underline the ugly reality of Indian politics that as far as the Hindu festivals and sentiments are concerned, the establishment is totally insensitive. If the railway has acted accurately, the tragedy should have not taken place," he added.
On the other hand, terming it a very sad and unfortunate incident Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the Centre is committed to take whatever steps are required to help the victims' families.
"The incident, which took place in Allahabad, is extremely unfortunate. Our Prime Minister has already said that the government will take proper care of the affected families. The incident should not be seen as a matter of Centre versus state government," said Tewari.
Earlier in the day, Railway Minister confirmed that 36 people were died and 39 other were injured in the incident.
"We have got the information that 36 people have died and 39 are injured till now. Three among the injured have grievous injuries. Adding to the compensation announced by the Prime Minister last night, we have added another Rs. One lakh to the family of the dead, Rs, 50,000 to the victims with grievous injuries and 25,000 to other injured on behalf of railways," said Bansal.
It is, however, feared that the death toll may go up since the condition of some of the injured is said to be in a critical condition.
The injured are being treated at the railway hospitals and the SRN Hospital in Allahabad.
The preliminary reports said that the stampede broke out when the railing leading to a footbridge between platform 5 and 6 collapsed due to heavy rush of the people returning from Kumbh Mela.