Indo-Americans shocked at Sabarimala tragedy

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 15, 2011 10:30 hrs

Indo-Americans have expressed shock and dismay at the tragedy in remote Kerala (India), where stampede caused the deaths of dozens of returning Sabarimala pilgrims and injuring many more on Friday night.

Distinguished Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said: Our hearts and thoughts go out for the victims and their families and we are all in shock over this unimaginable loss. He called for prayers for the victims of the tragedy and their families, which reportedly happened on the last day of the about two-month festival.

Zed, who is Chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, argued that it clearly reflected on India and Kerala governments who appeared to have failed to properly manage a popular annual pilgrimage.

Rajan Zed pointed out that India was on track to become a global power but even could not manage a domestic event properly. It was blight on a country, which prided herself on having joined the league of hottest growth economies. He demanded apology from India and Kerala governments for failure to prevent this preventable tragedy, adequate compensation for the affected and their families, and action against the negligent officials.

Zed also appealed to India's billionaires/millionaires, who had enormously benefitted from India's economic growth, to come to the aid of the victims and their families. Quoting scriptures, Zed said that charity was a duty, which should be undertaken with sympathy and modesty.

India should better manage her festivals as stampedes were relatively common at India's pilgrimage centers where large crowds gather in small areas with very little or no crowd-control or safety measures, Rajan Zed added.

Sabarimala is a Hindu pilgrimage center located in Kerala, where Lord Ayyappan is believed to have meditated after killing the powerful demoness Mahishi. Lord Ayyappan's temple is situated on a hilltop and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests. About 50 million pilgrims visit Sabarimala annually. (ANI)