36 dead in India Kumbh Mela stampede: official

At least 36 people, mostly women, have died in a deadly stampede at a railway station near India's giant Kumbh Mela festival, an official told AFP on Monday.

Amit Malviya, a spokesman for the northern and central railway, confirmed that 20 bodies had been identified with authorities waiting for relatives to come forward to claim another 16 corpses.

Of the identified dead, 14 are female and six are men, with the youngest victim an eight-year-old girl and the oldest a 75-year-old man, he said.

"Twenty persons have been identified by their kith and kin, we are trying to ascertain the identities of the remaining persons," he said.

The stampede occurred in the early evening of Sunday at Allahabad station when pilgrims were heading home from the most auspicious day of the Kumbh Mela, which drew 30 million people to the banks of the river Ganges.

Hindus believe a dip in the sacred waters of the river cleanses them of their sins.