Mugalsarai, UP, Oct 3 (UNI) At least 13 women were killed and about 48 others, including a few men, injured in a stampede at the Mughalsarai railway station here today, police said.
Most of the deceased and injured were said to be from Bihar's Bhojpur and Buxar district who were on way to Varanasi to observe the 'Jootia' festival.
According to the police, the stampede took place on an overcrowded over-bridge at the railway station when three trains arrived simultaneously. Most of the victims were aged and had choked to death on the over-bridge in the stampede.
''Passengers trying to switch over the trains had crowded the over-bridge which resulted in the incident,'' SP (Chandauli) Pravin Kumar told reporters at the site of the incident. Government Railway Police (GRP) officials claimed that Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel had cane charged the crowd, which could have triggered the stampede.
At least 48 were injured in the incident...''They have been admitted to the Divisional Railway Hospital,'' the SP added.
The police said most of the dead were from Bihar and had alighted from the Gaya-Mughalsarai passenger train on platform number 5.
Meanwhile, District Magistrate (Chandauli) P R Mishra said most of the victims had suffocated. Doctors said while 15 of the injured were discharged after first aid, seven seriously injured were referred to the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) hospital in Varanasi.
DRM (Mughalsarai) H K Kala said a probe has been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of the tragedy. Police officials said the GRP and RPF had apparently failed to monitor the flow of the passengers. ''The arrival of three trains together and the RPF 'lathi charge' compounded the problem,'' a police official, who was at the site, said.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner (Varanasi) Nitin Ramesh Gokarn and IG (Varanasi zone) Kashmir Singh have reached the spot.
The Mughalsarai railway station is a key junction on the Delhi-Howrah rail route and comes under the East-Central railway.
In a separate incident in Varanasi early today, a boat carrying pilgrims to observe the 'Jootia' festival to the east bank of river Ganga had capsized. Three persons, including a child and two women, died in the incident.