Shocked and dismayed at the October 13 stampede reportedly resulting in 115 deaths and injuries to over 100 pilgrims visiting Hindu temple in Datia district (Madhya Pradesh, India), Hindus worldwide are highly critical of frequent occurrences of deadly stampedes at religious gatherings in India.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that although India was on track to become a global power but even could not handle a domestic event properly and had yet to come up with a foolproof plan to manage large crowds.
India failed or refused to learn lessons from the previous stampedes as these continued to happen. It was blight on a country, which prided herself on having joined the league of hottest growth economies, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out while expressing grief over the loss of lives at October 13 stampede.
Rajan Zed further said: Our hearts and thoughts go out for the victims and their families and we are all in shock and anguish over this unimaginable loss. He called for prayers for the victims of the tragedy and their families.
Zed argued that it clearly reflected on India and Madhya Pradesh governments who appeared to have failed to properly manage a popular pilgrimage.
Rajan Zed demanded apology from India and Madhya Pradesh governments for failure to prevent this preventable tragedy, adequate compensation for the affected and their families, proper medical care for the injured and action against the negligent officials.
Zed also appealed to India’s billionaires/millionaires, who had enormously benefitted from India’s economic growth, to come to the aid of the victims and their families. Quoting scriptures, Zed said that charity was a duty, which should be undertaken with sympathy and modesty.
India should better manage her festivals as stampedes were relatively common at India’s pilgrimage centers where large crowds gathered in small areas with very little or no crowd-control or safety measures, Rajan Zed added.
According to reports, about 150,000 pilgrims gathered to celebrate last day of the Navaratri festival at Ratangarh Durga temple, about 405 kilometers from Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal. The stampede, which happened on a narrow bridge over swollen Sindh River leading to the temple, was said to be a re-run to the 2006 tragedy at the same spot resulting in death of 50 devotees.