Media, Hindu preachers blamed for Puskar stampede

Media, Hindu preachers blamed for Puskar stampede

Twenty seven people lost their lives in Godavari Puskar stamped at Rajahmundry in East Godavari district on July 14, 2015. File photo

Almost three years after 27 people lost their lives in Godavari Puskar stampede, a commission of enquiry has blamed the media and Hindu religious preachers for creating a hype about the event.

The Justice CY Somayajulu commission also gave a clean chit to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who was not present at the spot when the tragedy occurred at Rajahmundry in East Godavari district.

A 17-page report of the commission was tabled in the AP Assembly on the last day of the monsoon session on Wednesday.

The stampede occurred on July 14, 2015, shortly after Naidu inaugurated the 12-day extravaganza. The Opposition and rights activists held the CM responsible for the tragedy and alleged that security stopped the entry of common devotees at the gates to facilitate a Telugu Director and National Geographic Channel record the inaugural. The crowd began to swell and many particularly women and children got crushed in the stampede.

Apart from registering a case under Indian Penal Code section 174 (accidental death under suspicious circumstances), the state government instituted a commission of enquiry under retired high court judge Justice Somayajulu.

The commission quoting the evidences it had collected, said the stampede occurred after Naidu left the place. “Media, almanac pundits, spiritual preachers and seers carried out vigorous campaign that a dip at a particular point of time at 6.26 am on the day would fetch the devotees’ good results. Thus, they caused blind belief among the people. People were worried that they would not get that great result if they take a dip after that Muhurat. Hence the stampede”, the Commission said in its report.

YSRC slams report

The Opposition YSR Congress took serious exception to the commission’s report. “Justice Somayajulu seems to have signed a report prepared by Chandrababu Naidu. He threw the blame on all other sections in his bid to save Chandrababu Naidu,” said YSR Congress spokesperson Vasireddy Padma.

She said the tragedy could have been avoided had Naidu taken the dip at VIP Ghat instead of the gate No. 1 meant for general public. The party rejected the report.

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