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Day 2 Report by "The Hindu"

Devotees gather at the Pushkar Ghat to watch the ‘aarti’ as a train passes by, on the second day of Maha Pushkaram at Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. Photo: K.R. Deepak A day after the stampede at the Godavari Maha Pushkaram, order returned to the bathing ghats in this city on Wednesday and the mood changed from funereal to festive. Police and revenue officers worked to bring systems under control and kept a watch on the proceedings.
Safety bandobust was stepped up at the ghats, particularly the Pushkar Ghat at the gates of which 28 people died in Tuesday’s stampede. Pilgrims moved along in streamlined queues to the bathing areas. The striking difference in the arrangements seen on Wednesday was the erection of barricaded queue lines right up to the ghat entry points, which had been missing on Tuesday. The queues discharged pilgrims directly onto the ghats and minders ensured that there was no build-up of people at any point.
The absence of this simple regulatory measure was clearly the cause of the stampede on Tuesday morning: Pilgrims milled restlessly on the town side of the gates while the vast forecourt of the bathing ghat was empty. And when the gates were thrown open suddenly, a river of people gushed out with horrific consequences.