Recently at the Puttingal Temple, kollam, Kerala a massive fire cracker tragedy took place claiming the lives of more than 100 people and leaving several injured. This leaves lot of room for introspection when it comes to handling such crowds.
Crowd management is something which is the sole responsibility of district administration. District administration must make all necessary arrangements regarding to coordination of crowd, exit paths, safety precautions, etc. However in this case despite district administrations repeated interventions the temple authorities seem to have ignored all the orders. It is time now for district administration to take actions against all the perpetuators.
Laxity of procedure and respect for law: the shocking news that permission was denied for the fireworks display and that the fireworks were set off anyway is grim reminder of the callous attitude of the temple authorities and helplessness of the district administration.
The whole incident seems to be highly negligent about the prevailing rule of the land. Supreme Court says that fire crackers should not be used post 10PM but nobody seems to give heed to such things.
Political interference in issues related to safety and security of devotees should not be made. It is to be known from the reports that officer from the Kerala fire services was transferred last year when he was trying to enforce safety norms at fire cracker celebration.
Finally it is high time that authorities take proper measures so that incidents like this will not occur. It is necessary to bring all the stakeholders together (all temple authorities) and arrive at a common consensus on how such incidents can be self regulated by temple authorities by following safety norms and how they can cooperate more with police so that the proper laws are enforced and safety is ensured.
The accident at the Puttingal Devi temple, if accident it is determined to be, will haunt us for a long time to come. But it is time to examine – and rectify – the trends in our society that have helped shape the contours of this tragedy, if we want to ensure it never happens again.