A stampede tragedy happened on July 14, 2015 in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh at Pushkaram, a religious festival in India. 27 people have been killed and 29 seriously injured, among whom 2 were critically ill, said the spokesperson of the state. The government paid close attention to the accident. Prime Minister Modi sent a message online, grieving the tragedy.
BBC said in a report on July 14,that both sides of the “holy river”—the Godavari River were crowded with people in the morning before the tragedy happened. According to the Hindu belief dipping themselves in the river, washes off their sins . Around 8 in the morning, the first group of pilgrims went ashore when pilgrims on the bank swarmed forward and shoved them down. Times of India reported that thousands of people had gathered on the narrow steps on the banks. As the crowd was getting increased, police and volunteers could hardly get the situation under control, and thus the tragedy happened. A witness of the accident said the crowds were in chaos, which lasted about 20 mins. “The scene was terrifying. Many women and children were crying for help…the police couldn’t control the situation. It was only after an hour did the order was restored.”
After the tragedy, Indian PM Modi expressed his deep grief on twitter. The government of the state of Andhra Pradesh issued a “special allowance” measure: the government would allocate one million Rupees to the bereaved family and cover the medical expenses of the injured.
AFP said there was another similar festival as the Pushkaram called Great Pitcher Festival, which also witnessed stampede tragedy in history. 12 years ago, 39 people died in the festival. In order to prevent this kind of tragedies from happening, the host of the activities had built a “safe path” to avoid the place getting overcrowded. Indian government has also sent 20 thousand police forces to maintain the security of the festival. But the tragedy still happened. The local government blamed the accident on the steep rise of the number of the pilgrims. However, Times of India attributed the accident to the lack of efficiency on the management, and hence the responsibility lying with the government. The newspaper said some elder ones among the pilgrims complained of regulation incessantly—their cars must be parked a mile away and they had to walk there under the scorching sun. Before the tragedy, there were people collapsing because of sunstroke or dehydration.
环球时报记者/周良臣 刘皓然 发自印度