For the second time in the past year, a stampede has killed people recklessly. On the night of January 14, the climactic day of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season, a stampede has cost over 100 lives besides leaving many injured.
The tragedy has been declared a national calamity. While the exact cause is awaited, it appears that crowd management was inadequate. Now is the time the government must act and ensure that this is the last time such a tragedy occurs. I wish less pilgrims visited these places, but looks like restricting the numbers of pilgrims is next to impossible. The authorities can look at building cubicles like in Tirupati and also ensure that an orderly queue system is in place.
Another important reason for the huge rush of devotees in Sabarimala and many other similar pilgrims, is the fact that the pilgrimage season is restricted to less than two months. The annual increase of pilgrim inflow nullifies whatever modest amenities that are in place before the commencement of the season. An extension of the season will not hurt anybody.
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