Saturday, September 5, 2015

Editorial, 'RELIGION, SUPERSTITION AND STAMPEDES' in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 July 2015 issue, Vol. 11, Part 2, No. 13.


Resisting the temptation to declare all religion as mere superstition, we are constrained to note, however, that every religion stands on the basis of a bundle of superstitions at least. To see ‘God’ in river waters too may be a broad religious concept, a mere belief. But to declare that it manifests once in 12 years and that to the maximum only once in 144 years, and then a dip in the waters at particular time on a particular day at a specific ghat is the most redeeming trait, etc. are certainly superstitions with no basis of rational thinking. That even a highly educated chief minister succumbed to such superstitions and promoted all sorts of disinformation aided by blind-thinking interpretative scholars is highly detestable in a secular setup. That this false propaganda, together with the greed and craze for fame of that person to grab all attention and media coverage in the very first hours of starting the Pushkaralu at a very crowded ghat and preventing all other public entry for hours together for his own luxury and VVIP security, and then suddenly releasing the floodgates for a human sea surge without the least thought of consequences, have resulted in an untold tragedy of loss of about 30 lives in a gruesome stampede is so shocking to, and certainly condemnable by, one and all. True, stampedes in India, and the world, are not that uncommon; nor are they confined to occasions of any particular religion or merely to religious events even. Salient crowd management techniques have also been formulated to contain the dangers and minimize the losses in this regard but here it seems the flouting of safety guidelines was due to the zeal for self-trumpeting propaganda, like proposing to release the ‘heavenly capital’ seed plan at the same city within 2-3 days of the tragedy, and also indicates criminal negligence of the concerned CM too. Actually he should have owned up moral responsibility and resigned forthwith, as did the great Shastriji, then Union Railway Minister, decades back when a railway accident occurred. Also, it is quite desirable, albeit  may be too much to expect, that a conscientious superior court should forthwith take suo motu cognizance of, and order a comprehensive inquiry into the tragedy, so that the responsible can be brought to book and strict instructions issued to prevent recurrence of such mishaps.    §§§

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