Pilgrimage of death in India

It may be of note that Hinduism is not an organised religion as such. There is no body that codifies what it is to be a Hindu, nor is there a system of belief by which you can be disavowed. There are literally thousands of groups that follow the general henothestic system (that there is one god with many manifestations).

Yet organisation seems to be what is in order, as at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur 150  – 200 people are dead and 150 people are injured when a wall collapsed and people panicked, though there are reports that the panic was caused by a bomb alert. This is the fourth time this year that life’s have been lost in such stampedes during religious festivals. Only last month another 140 people died during a stampede at a temple in Himachal Pradesh state, caused by rumours of an avalanche.

The police are by all accounts not trained in crowd management, and where there is supposed supervision it is not adequately enforced with health and safety considerations. It would seem any such presence is designed to stop violence breaking out rather than ensuring that the pilgrimage itself happens in relative safety.

To happen once is a misfortune. But to happen four times in a year looks like criminal negligence. Hopefully the investigation into the tragic events will call for better crowd management at religious festivals. It is time for  the Indian government to ensure that all measures are taken to ensure the safety of people at such events. If this means limiting the number of people that can attend at any one time, then so be it – because this life does matter.

OTHER BLOGS:

First Hindu faith school state funded in Europe

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