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As a result of two stampedes at TDP events, the Andhra Pradesh government has banned public rallies and meetings on roads.

Eight people died in the stampede that was triggered as the crowd rushed to meet party chief Chandrababu Naidu in the first event called ‘Idem Kharma’ at Kandukuru in Nellore district. The victims choked to death when they fell into Naidu’s open jeep parked in a narrow lane beside a drain.

After three days, three women were killed while attempting to collect sarees the former chief minister was distributing as Sankranthi gifts in Guntur district.

In the wake of the stampedes, the ruling YSRCP blamed Naidu for the deaths of innocent people. Sources said Naidu had arrived late to the venue, and there were not enough counters to distribute the sarees.

On the other hand, the TDP blamed both the state government and the police. Prem Kumar Jain, TDP national spokesperson, told News18: “The state government and the police didn’t make the necessary arrangements.” As a party, the TDP is committed to helping the poor. Our president wanted to help them through these programs. I urge the state not to repeat these accidents. Jagan Mohan Reddy must take responsibility for the tragic accident.

It is the government’s job to finalise the route and make proper arrangements. The second incident occurred after Naidu left. Everything was fine while he was there.”

In India, stampedes are a regular occurrence at religious and political gatherings. While the blame-game continues, it is difficult to determine the exact reasons behind the mishaps without a thorough investigation.

He is the convenor of the Indian Institute of Science’s Sustainable Transportation Lab (IST Lab), which conducts extensive research on crowd safety and control.

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