The death of over 100 people, many of them women and children, in a stampede at the Ratangarh Mata Temple in Datia, Madhya Pradesh, is saddening. In India, post-disaster response goes like this — a political blame-game; some compensation for the victims and their families; a committee to probe the incident; and finally its removal from our memory.

What we need is better planning in pilgrimage sites where the chances of an accident are likely. Instead of looking for who started the rumour that allegedly led to the stampede in Datia, the authorities should improve access to the temple and have a rescue team in place. A standard model of operation should be developed

Mahendra D. Kamdar,

Mumbai

Many disasters involving huge crowds, including stampedes, have taken place in the past but we still have not learnt the necessary lessons. The government machinery draws up policies on paper but they are hardly implemented. Disaster management is almost non-existent. The Madhya Pradesh tragedy is a classic example of man-made disaster. Trained employees, better coordination, use of technology and spreading awareness among people can avert such situations in future.

Kumar Shekhar Jha,

Meerut

This is the second time tragedy has struck Datia. In 2006, more than 50 pilgrims were washed away after falling into the same river. Sunday’s incident could have been averted had the administration been more alert in dealing with a large gathering of pilgrims.

S. Sankaranarayanan,

Chennai

Stampedes have taken place in different parts of the country causing hundreds of avoidable deaths. Most of them have happened at religious places on the eve of festivals or during festival related activities. The administration should gear up to meet the challenges on occasions when huge crowds are expected to gather.

Sikandar Khatri,

New Delhi

The sorry side of such tragedies is that they claim the lives of hapless women and children. A sense of discipline should be imparted among people who gather in large numbers so that untoward incidents can be averted.

Dinesh Kumar,

Beri

The Madhya Pradesh government knew that huge crowds gather at the temple during Navratri. Why did it not take adequate precautions and deploy more policemen? Worse, no police officer or administrative personnel was seen anywhere near the dead bodies in photographs and TV visuals.

Avadhoot Gorakhanath Shinde,

New Delhi

It is tragic that a man-made disaster caused greater havoc than cyclone Phailin. Stampedes are not new in India, particularly during festive occasions. The location of the Ratangarh temple and its proximity to a bridge should have attracted the attention of officials. The disaster could have then been avoided.

Lakshmi Swathi Gandham,

Guntur

I was reminded of the stampede in Kerala’s Idukki district in 2011which claimed the lives of more than 100 Sabarimala pilgrims. The tragedy was declared a national calamity. It is shocking to learn that a rumour caused the Ratangarh stampede. It was a clear case of dereliction of duty on the part of the authorities. The negligence is even more shocking considering that a tragedy occurred at the same site in 2006.

A. Jainulabdeen,

Chennai

Frequent recurrence of man-made calamities lowers the image of the nation, besides exposing the poor preparedness of the administration in this age of technology. The tragedy is blot on the government of the day. Nothing is more sacred and precious than a human life. It should not be taken for granted by the administration or fellow human beings.

D. Manohara Rao,

Vizianagaram

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