More than three years after the major tragedy at Godavari pushkarams in Rajahmundry in which 27 people died in a stampede, a judicial commission gave a clean chit to Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.The commission, in its report which was tabled in the Andhra assembly on Wednesday, declared that Naidu was no way responsible for the stampede.
“It was wrong that the stampede had occurred as the police had closed the gates of the ghat to enable Naidu to perform puja along with his family. The incident happened after Naidu left the spot,” the commission felt.What is worse, the commission blamed it on the media for giving too much publicity to the auspicious muhurtham for performing the holy bath.
“This has resulted in lakhs of people coming at the same time. Since the pathway was too narrow, it resulted in the stampede,” the commission felt.Though nobody would expect that the commission would hold Naidu responsible for the tragedy of July 15, 2015, it was at least expected to point out the lapses on the part of administration to make proper arrangements.
Those who witnessed the tragedy clearly told the media that the police were engaged in the services of Naidu, throwing the safety of lakhs of pilgrims to the winds.Everybody reported that the crowds could not enter the ghat because of Naidu’s pujas and also the shooting being done on him while he was performing the puja. It resulted in the stampede at the VIP entrance.
Even national media reported that Naidu wasn’t willing to forego the massive publicity that would accompany his own participation in the mega festival.“The policemen were totally inexperienced in crowd management and they were lacking instructions from the top cops who were fawning over the Chief Minister and other VIPs,” the report said.
Yet, the commission chose to blame the media for highlighting the muhurtam!