In an interesting development, the one man commission of Justice Somayajulu, gave a clean chit to the State government on the stampede that killed 29 pilgrims on the first day of Godavari Pushkarams in 2015 at Rajahmundry. The commission, in its report, blamed the media for creating hype about the event, particularly about having holy dip in the river on the first day at the early hours, which was called the inaugural muhurt.
The media’s false report for its own promotion had caused the mishap the commission said and further added that Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was not present at the ghat when the stampede occurred. “The chief minister had just finished his bath and had gone into the van to change the dress, when the incident occurred,” was what the commission found.
The commission had sought to blame Muppalla Subba Rao, advocate and member of AP Bar Council, former MP Undavalli Arun Kumar and others, who filed the affidavits on the stampede accusing the government. The commission said that these affidavits were all aimed at gaining political or personal mileage and dismissed them all saying that none of them were eye witness to the stampede.
The commission concluded saying that the government had paid compensation to the family members of those who died and had provided medical treatment to those who were injured in the stampede and the lapses were rectified and the event concluded in happy note. Which means that there was no one to be blamed or held responsible for the incident as compensation was paid to the victims.
While holding the media responsible, the commission failed to recommend what is to be done to prevent such things to happen in future. In a way, the commission had also blamed the victims for coming in large numbers in the name of faith and getting killed.
It was expected that the commission would give clean chit to the State government, but no one thought it would conclude this way blaming the victims and the media for the mishap.