DC Edit | Stampede deaths: Who to blame?
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
There seems to be a continuity of bad luck for Andhra Pradesh, with two stampedes at the two different public meetings and roadshows being conducted by former chief minister and leader of the Opposition Nara Chandrababu Naidu leading to the death of a total of 11 people on either side of the New Year.
On December 28, the horror took place at a public meeting organised by the Opposition Telugu Desam Party at Kandukur in Nellore district. Eight people died after falling into a drain caused by a stampede. Four others were injured, two of them critically.
The New Year did not bring a change of luck, or circumstance. Three more persons died, and many others got seriously injured, at yet another stampede at a TDP meeting held in Guntur district on Sunday. The TDP chief cut short his speech, rushed to the hospital and announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakhs to the families mourning the deceased.
The ruling YSRC Party, headed by chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, took to condemning the incidents, calling them consequences of Mr Naidu’s "craze for publicity".
But therein hangs a tale. Mr Chandrababu Naidu cannot wash his hands of the twin tragedies by merely announcing ex gratia support or passing public condolences. Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy cannot think his responsibility ends with political criticism of the mishaps seeing as they took place in the political meetings of his rival’s party.
The citizens who died were citizens of Andhra Pradesh, and as CM, Mr Reddy has to answer if his government had done everything in its power to prevent their untimely end. Mr Naidu too has to answer, if his party applied its mind to doing everything to stop the deaths. If so, how could there be an encore within a few days?
Truth is, both leaders are responsible, and several innocent citizens have needlessly perished.