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Report: 18 dead after stampede at India's Hindu festival

At least 18 people were killed in a stampede in Allahabad as Hindus returned from a river dip at the world's largest religious festival.

Passengers crowd together at a platform after part of a railing from a bridge collapsed at Allahabad railway station. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

An overcrowded railway station footbridge buckled and a riling collapse, sending some people slipping down the stairs and triggering the stampede, an official told Reuters. "I can confirm that 18 people have died and 13 have been injured," said the official.

Hindu pilgrims bathe in the sacred Ganges to wash away sins at the Kumbh Mela. Sunday was believed to be the most auspicious day of the festival.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock at the tragedy and promised financial assistance to the families of the dead.

Devotees mark India's Kumbh Mela Hindu festival

Bathing at India's Kumbh Mela will see 20 million pilgrims taking a dip at the meeting of the Ganges and Yamuna.

Described as the one of the word's biggest human gatherings, 30 million bathers are expected before the end of Sunday, and 100 million over the 55-day Hindu festival.

A Sadhu or a Hindu holy man gestures before taking a dip during the second "Shahi Snan" (grand bath), during the Kumbh Mela. Credit: REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash
Devotees cross the river Ganges after bathing in the waters at Sangam - confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers. Credit: REUTERS/Jitendra
A Hindu devotee takes a dip. Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Sadhus or Hindu holy men wearing marigold garlands line up as they prepare to take a dip during the second "Shahi Snan" (grand bath). Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
A Sadhu or a Hindu holy man rides a horse. Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

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Millions enjoy Hindu cleansing festival in India

Millions of people have gathered on the banks of the Ganges, India, to celebrate the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela.

The festival, which takes place every twelve years in the holy city of Allahabad, started at dawn this morning with Hindu holy men entering the sacred waters.

ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent reports:

Read More: Millions bathe in Ganges for Hindu cleansing festival.

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Tens of millions expected for Hindu festival in India

Hindu pilgrims in Allahabad, India where three holy rivers converge
Hindu pilgrims in Allahabad, India where three holy rivers converge Credit: ITV News/Matt Williams
A sandcastle depicting the Hindu goddess Shiva
A sandcastle depicting the Hindu goddess Shiva Credit: ITV News/Matt Williams
A temporary police station in Allahabad
A temporary police station in Allahabad Credit: ITV News/Matt Williams
Sadhus - or holymen - attending the Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad
Sadhus - or holymen - attending the Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad Credit: ITV News/Matt Williams
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