The Crowds Brought it on Themselves, Says Andhra Stampede Report

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The Crowds Brought it on Themselves, Says Andhra Stampede Report
It was the thousands of pilgrims and the police that failed to control them that caused 29 people to be crushed to death in Andhra Pradesh, according to a government report.

Questions about VIPs, including Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who stayed far longer than scheduled at the River Godavari, are not raised in the report that attempts to pin responsibility for the tragedy that took place on Tuesday.

The stampede took place after the Chief Minister and his entourage took a dip in the river in the Rajahmundry district to open a huge Hindu festival which occurs once every 144 years. During the VIPs baths and a pooja that followed, the public was not allowed to enter the area, causing it to build up and get impatient. The sweltering heat made it worse.

The report, prepared by District Collector H. Arun Kumar, says it was the pilgrims who were to blame because they breached the barricades after the Chief Minister left. Then, he says, "The police and security personnel deployed there couldn't be able to control this flow in front of the Pushkar Ghat, the pivotal location of the event where the crowd from all directions had gathered. It resulted in stampede."

Since the stampede, the Chief Minister has remained in the area to supervise arrangements for the 12-day festival which is drawing lakhs of devotees.

Opposition party leaders have blamed Chandrababu Naidu's prolonged presence at the Pushkar Ghat for the tragedy. Some have said that Mr Naidu extended his visit to the river because he was being filmed for a documentary that allegedly focuses on his spirituality.
 

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