Anandpur Sahib: In what can be described as the worst ever tragedy in the history of temple tourism in Himachal Pradesh, at least 125 people are reported to have died and more than 200 injured in a stampede at Naina Devi Temple in Bilaspur district this morning.
Rumors of a portion of the mountain slope coming down is believed to have triggered the stampede as pilgrims coming down the temple created panic as they ran down taking those going up by surprise. Most of the victims are reported to be from the adjoining areas of Punjab and Chandigarh.
This is the first ever incident of stampede in the hill state known to be home to several Shaktisthals as per the Hindu mythology. The Chief Minister has declared a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the kin of those who were killed and Rs 50,000 to those injured in the incident.
Stampede at Naina Devi Mandir, 125 feared killed
The latest reports put the figure at 147. Himachal has never been prepared for disaster management.
Also the authorities are not prepared to control a huge crowd, which the reports says that more than 25,000 devotees were on the way to the temple – Shrawan Navrata started on Saturday. During such occasions, a mechanism like Vaishno Devi should be put in place where devotees should be given tokens and let in groups rather than haphazardly.
I was horrified to read the headlines on times of India this morning. Bilaspur is my home town and seeing so many dead bodies scattered made me cry. I cant believe that people can die like this. Women and childern being trampled. It takes just one rumour for these devotees to become monsters and run others down! It talks about their faith in very God they were visiting. Instead of faith, it is fear that they had.
On other hand, does it always take a disaster for authorities to wake up? Why were so many people allowed to go up the narrow path!!
Unfortunate and shocking.
Yesterday's media highlight was India's victory over Sri Lanka. Thanks to our nauseating obsession with cricket.
Last time it was in 1978 when several people lost their lives in a stampede at the same place.
Heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their loved ones in this avoidable manmade tragedy.
Temple/Local authorities should have restricted the number of people who can visit the temple on a single day. Making such an arrangement doesn't require a qualification in rocket science.
Accidents don't happen they are caused. Those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it and at the cost of innocent lives.
The sad news of stampede in Naina Devi shrine reveals the passive approach of administrators of Himachal. It is saddening that so many people lost their lives.
Various shakti peeths in Himachal can help locals to earn their livelihood if proper administration of pilgrims exits and entry is properly maintained. There must be maximum number of pilgrims which can be allowed for a particular duration and the excess pilgrims must stay back until the exit is made. The minimum number can be calculated from the strength/capacity of the administration in terms of infrastructure, hospitals, civil defense system and coping up with emergencies.
While staying back pilgrim will generate additional revenues to the locals; the limitations of number of entries will ensure proper care of them and deal with emergencies in an orderly manner.
It really pains when such events happen as the innocent families of the departed are just left to raise their blank eyes in the sky and ask the god if they were doing some unethical act by visiting the shrine.
The unfortunate incident of Naina Devi stampede uncovers our lack of preparedness to handle disasters. None of our temple cities have a foolproof system to handle crowd effieciently. Every major temples in Himachal attract lot of devottees round the year and in lakhs during festivals. Undoubtly these pilgrims donates a lot , by which an efficient management can provide all those for the security of devotees.
Hope this tragic event will open the eyes of all those concerned authorities in government to take all precautions to stop re occurance .
I don't think our eyes will ever open. Such accidents involving loss of human life will keep on occuring.
Short public memory, no respect for human life, non-existent safety norms, dereliction of duty..what a deadly concoction.
Paahan pooje hari mile to main poojoon pahad.
Man changa to kathauti main ganga.
Does God really reside atop mountains, inside caves or any other hard to reach place.
Karl Marx was probably right when he said 'Religion is the opiate of the masses'.
If the idea is to treck to shed a few pounds of flab then it is fine to climb the mountains. Otherwise take my word, you won't find Him there.
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