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Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year and binge .. stampede and death at Shanghai (deaths in Chennai too !!)

Welcome the New Year 2015 – how did you enjoy the birth of the new year and passing away of the olden one.  I had posted on remaining sane, and asked whether I was too critical or cynical on the way the New Year is partied !!!  Binge  :  a bout of excessive indulgence in eating or drinking; spree. English New Year is just another day to me. It is the perspective of an individual ~ one can celebrate, make merry in the manner that gives happiness to one; can make others to be happy on a special day.  

At various parts of the globe, the bubbly was uncorked early as they got ready to usher in the New Year.  For some revellers, a vibrant energy infused the air.  At Chennai, more than 15,000 police personnel were on the roads to maintain law and order and ensure the celebrations were safe and stress-free. The city's beaches were swamped with revellers. The trend of house parties was also in evidence and most hotels were fully packed, irrespective of the higher costsl 

In Great Britain, millions took to the streets to celebrate a night to remember as the country ushered in 2015 - and some clearly enjoyed the occasion more than others.  Some of the newspapers wrote that  it all got a bit too much for some party-goers, displaying photographs of drunken people.   Young women lying on pavement and elsewhere was the theme.  In Cardiff,  there were 90 arrests made by Metropolitan Police officers working on the policing operation for New Year's Eve.  The breakdown is -  27 on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, 22 for assault, seven for sexual offences and six for drugs.  Meanwhile, West Midlands Ambulance Service tweeted: 'We've had more than 100 999 calls within the first 30 minutes of 2015.

At Shanghai, merry turned tragic as the New Year's Eve stampede left at least 35 dead and 42 injured after thousands 'surged forward to grab fake dollars  thrown from a rooftop'.  It is stated that the stampede may have been caused when the crowd surged forward trying to grab fake money thrown from a building in the square.  China's state-run Xinhua News Agency cited the Shanghai's government in saying that at least another 42 people have been injured and have been taken to Shanghai General Hospital. The deaths and injuries occurred in Chen Yi Square, in city's waterfront Bund area, which attracted 300,000 people last New Years Eve and is notorious for causing severe congestion at major events.

Official news service, Xinhua, reported that the stampede began at 11.35pm local time, and a witness has claimed the deathly stampede occurred when people in the crowd rushed to grab fake money, reported Business Insider.  The poor communication made the relatives of victims go berserk and  Security  personnel used chairs to barricade themselves against family members of the stampede victims.  The crowds had gathered to see the light show  themed 'civilisation' themed, decorated with a scheme of bronze, blue and white porcelain, and terracotta.  

While we grieve these deaths, the Hindu reports that in Chennai city, amid  New Year revelry, five lose their lives in city.  Young men and women, children and elders descended the beach  in motorcycles and cars. Fancy fireworks were set off on Kamaraj Salai opposite the Mahatma Gandhi statue. The police had a tough time keeping the over-enthusiastic youth in check. A few young men brazenly carried liquor bottles, consuming them opposite the office of the Director General of Police. The night, however, turned tragic for four persons who died in accidents, and one youth who was murdered in festivity-related violence.  Newspaper reports suggest that the enthusiasm with which city residents, mainly youngsters on the roads, plunged into New Year-eve celebrations proved costly for many. At least 300 people were injured  besides those died in separate accidents in the city.

In main roads, reflectors had been installed on barricades to make them visible from far and to act as speed breakers. So another new year, nothing much changed than the previous years and the sordid tales too continue !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

2nd Jan 2015. 

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