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Post-Rally Stampede at Train Station in Northern India Claims 14 Lives

September 29, 2002|From Times Wire Services

LUCKNOW, India — At least 14 people died and 19 were injured in a stampede in northern India on Saturday as thousands of people raced to board trains after a huge political rally, officials said.

"After the rally ended, a lot of people rushed to catch the train. One man fell down. A few fell over him, and the stampede started," Arun Kumar, deputy inspector-general of police in Uttar Pradesh state, told the private Aaj Tak television channel.

Most of the dead were trampled to death, officials said; however, three apparently were electrocuted by overhead wires when they clambered on top of railway coaches after failing to find room inside.

An estimated 200,000 people had attended the rally by the Bahujan Samaj Party, the senior partner in the state's coalition government. The BSP represents the "scheduled castes," previously known as "untouchables" in Indian hierarchy.

The rally--in the Uttar Pradesh state capital, Lucknow, 250 miles southeast of New Delhi--was in protest of a local politician who allegedly made disparaging remarks about Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a hero of the scheduled castes.

The BSP is allied with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

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