Lucknow, 23 April: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will make a presentation at the South Asia Institute in Harvard University showcasing this year’s Maha Kumba Mela. His presentation is about successful crowd management at the 55 day long fair in which over 200 million pilgrims took bath.
Akhilesh will leave for US on 24 April. As part of the Harvard University ‘South Asia without Border’ symposium, Akhilesh will speak on mapping the Kumbh Mela. He will make key note presentation on the challenges in organising Kumbh. Urban Development Minister Azam Khan will accompany him.
On 10 February, over thirty six people including twenty six women and nine children were killed in a stampede at the Allahabad Railway Station, following huge rush of pilgrims. Railway authorities and UP government traded charges for the stampede, accusing each other of failure to control crowd. UP government later ordered a judicial inquiry and appointed a retired judge from the Allahabad High Court.
“We do not expect that the issue of stampede will be raised at Harvard. Even if this matter comes up, we won’t respond as this is our internal matter,” said Azam Khan. He added, “The invitation has no mention of the stampede; we have been invited to speak on successful crowd management by the Kumbh administration.”
Citing self flagellation part of ‘our culture’, Khan said, “The whole world is appreciating us for achieving this feat at Kumbh. Harvard wants to hear from us how state authorities, Mela administration and myriad arms of the state and society made arrangements for over 200 million people. But we are more interested in spitting on our own face.”
Yadav will leave for US along with his team of officers who were involved in the planning of the fair which, in fact, had started two years in advance. How a temporary city was erected in such short time and accommodation made for huge number of devotees, is something the western world is keen to know, an official spokesman said today.
The Chief Minister is excited to tell the world about the conduct at Maha Kumbh – an achievement on the part of his government. A comprehensive presentation will be made at Harvard before the academicians look into finer details of management and planning.