Toll 36, CM blames Rlys for tragedy

Akhilesh Yadav

Azam Khan resigns from Kumbh panel

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday virtually blamed the Railways for the stampede at the Allahabad railway station, which claimed lives of 36 Kumbh pilgrims on Sunday night, saying: "Everybody knows who is responsible for the incident. I do not want to say anything, but some people have pointed out."

Emerging from the Raj Bhavan after briefing Governor B L Joshi about the incident, the Chief Minister said: "We are working with sincerity for providing relief. Our priority is to send people to their homes. A high-level probe will be conducted." Akhilesh made the remarks when somebody said the government's handling of the tragedy was insensitive and he had not visited Allahabad.

"You choose your words carefully. This is not a good thing. Since night, I have been in touch with officials. We have dispatched two ministers and officials to Allahabad," he said in a raised voice.

In another development, Urban Development Minister Azam Khan announced his resignation from the post of Chairman of the Kumbh Mela Committee. Khan, who was in Rampur, said he had sent his resignation to the Chief Minister.

The Urban Development Department is the nodal department for organising the Kumbh Mela. Khan, however, blamed the railways for the tragedy.

"I and the state government were concerned with the arrangements at the Kumbh Mela venue. The incident occurred at the railway station and due to the mistakes and carelessness of railways. But I am aggrieved by the incident and have tendered my resignation," Khan stated.

Earlier in the day, the Governor, who was in Delhi to attend a conference, cancelled his engagements and returned to Lucknow in view of the tragedy at Allahabad. He summoned the Chief Minister who was at Saifai attending a cous'n's wedding. Akhilesh met the Governor for about 20 minutes in the afternoon.

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