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Kumbh stampede toll rises to 36

Allahabad: At least 36 people were killed and scores of others injured on Sunday night in a stampede at Allahabad railway station teeming with thousands of pilgrims returning after a holy dip at the 'Maha Kumbh' here. Last night, at least 22 people were declared dead in the stampede.

CMO Allahabad Dr Prabhakar confirmed the toll, saying 14 more people died during treatment. Many injured are being treated at the railway hospitals and the SRN Hospital here, he said.

The victims include 26 women, nine men and a child, official sources said, adding bodies of 20 of the deceased have been identified.

Earlier, a senior police officer had put the toll at 20 in the stampede that occurred at 7 PM when Platforms No 5 and 6 were packed with thousands of passengers.

Eyewitnesses said the stampede at Platform No 6 was triggered near a foot overbridge when hundreds of passengers rushed to board a train whose arrival was being announced in a public address system. Platform No 6 was later sealed by authorities. The bodies of some of the victims shrouded in white cloth were kept at the platform for several hours.

Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, however, has clarified that the stampede occurred at the railway station due to heavy rush and not due to the collapse of a foot overbridge. Back






Probe into stampede after clearing Kumbh rush: Railways

ALLAHABAD: The Railways on Monday said a probe will be initiated into the railway station stampede in Allahabad, which left 36 dead, once it is through with the task of clearing the rush of Kumbh pilgrims. 

Alok Johri, General Manager of the North Central Railway zone, told PTI, “Our top priority is to ensure a safe return journey for the thousands of pilgrims who visited the Kumbh Mela yesterday. We are plying about two dozen special trains today to facilitate this”. 

“Top officials of the State government, led by the Chief Secretary, are scheduled to visit later in the day. We will discuss the tragedy with them and share our inputs. A probe will follow once we are through with ferrying pilgrims back to the places they had arrived from”, he said. 

An inquiry committee was constituted late last night by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav into the stampede. 

The committee, headed by the Board of Revenue Chairman Jagan Matthews, “would conduct an in-depth investigation into various aspects of the tragedy and submit its report to the government”, official sources had said. 

Meanwhile, nearly 6,000 additional buses were being run to clear the city in general and the Kumbh Mela area in particular of the exceptionally large number of devotees who had arrived to take a holy dip on the auspicious occasion of “Mauni Amavasya” and were still stuck up here, official sources said. 

The administration claimed that nearly three crore devotees had visited the city since Saturday night for the bathing festival. — PTI






Pope to resign on Feb 28, conclave in March 

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. 

The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning. 

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering. 

“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” 

The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants. 

Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.” 

The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed. 

There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. — AP






Delhi gang-rape case: Trial resumes

New Delhi: A fast-track court will on Monday continue its hearing in the brutal Delhi gang-rape case. Notably, five of the six accused are being tried for charges of rape and murder of a 23-year-old student at Saket court.

The trial in the fast-track court began on February 05, around 50 days after the medical student's brutal rape.

The fast-track court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna started day-to-day trial in the case last week after framing charges of murder, gang-rape and kidnapping, among others, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the five accused.

The gang-rape victim's male friend, a software engineer, who was also attacked along with her on the bus, also appeared as a witness in the court on a wheelchair accompanied by his father. The case of the juvenile accused is being heard by the Juvenile Justice Board.

Police had filed a supplementary chargesheet that included the autopsy report of the physiotherapy intern who was gang-raped by the six on December 16 last year, in a moving bus. She died on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.

The other charges framed against the accused are unnatural offence, destruction of evidence, attempt to murder, causing hurt while committing robbery, dacoity with murder, and common intent. The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.Back






Adele, Gotye win early Grammys

Los Angeles: British soul singing sensation Adele became the first winner of the evening at the 55th Grammys by grabbing the Best Pop Solo Performance award, while Australian musician Goyte walked towards big wins, clinching three trophies.

Adele was presented a Grammy by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull for a live rendition of her hit song 'Set Fire To The Rain'.

The Golden Globe winner pipped the likes of Kelly Clarkson (Stronger), Carly Rae Jepsen (Call Me Maybe), Katy Perry (Wide Awake) and Rihanna (Where Have You Been) to win the award.

Gotye, real name Wouter "Wally" De Backer, took home three trophies - Record of the Year and Pop/duo group performance for his song 'Somebody That I Used to Know' and Alternative music album for 'Making Mirrors'.

In the Record of the Year category, Gotye was nominated alongside The Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Fun, Frank Ocean and Taylor Swift. Beyonce won the Traditional R&B performance Grammy for 'Love on Top'.Back




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