The editorial “Sharing the blame” (Feb. 13), on the Allahabad railway station stampede which claimed 36 lives, was timely. Holy places do not expand in area when crowds come in for special occasions. The crowd, on the other hand, is ever expanding. Accommodating huge crowds in a limited area, minimising damage and avoiding a stampede pose a tough challenge to the authorities.
We, the devotees, can do our bit to prevent such tragedies, while expecting the government to do so. It is time we seriously reviewed our practice of visiting holy places on auspicious days, during heavily crowded hours. Will god, who is full of love and compassion for us, refuse to bless us if we visit holy places on ordinary days?
While the editorial rightly pointed out that the resignation of U.P. Minister and Kumbh Mela Committee chairman Mohammad Azam Khan will not solve the problem, the need for such a culture among politicians should be encouraged.
Identifying those responsible for the tragedy and punishing them are crucial to preventing the recurrence of such incidents. The blame game among different agencies and political parties should not be a surprise. In Sabarimala, in 1999 and 2011, 54 and 102 pilgrims lost their lives due to the callousness of the Kerala government. But the enquiries which followed did not fix accountability on any officer. Let us hope that the inquiry into the Allahabad stampede will do justice.