Kerala: At least 25 persons were injured, 2 of them critically, following a stampede at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on Sunday. There was additional rush at the popular temple because of the idol was decorated with the Thanga Angi jewels during the evening puja. The critically injured pilgrims have been rushed to hospital in Pamba while the others are being treated at the Sannidhanam. Most of the pilgrims belonged to Andhra, according to Ayyappa Dharma Sena president Rahul Easwar. He stated that police has initiated crowd control measures and the situation is under control.
Pilgrims had been waiting for hours for the Puja to end so that they could get a darshan of the Ayyappa idol. Reports stated the stampede ensued when some people tried to cut into the queue.
The stampede happened just as the holy ‘Thanga Angi’ procession carrying ornaments worn by Lord Ayyappa on Mandala pooja tomorrow had reached the temple this evening. The procession starts from Aranmula Sree Parthasarthy temple 4 days before the Mandala pooja.
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran stated there was a hefty rush of pilgrims at the shrine when the thanga angi was carried. He was at the temple shortly before the stampede and had left the shrine after ‘deeparadhana’ (evening prayers) with Thanga Angi.
The minister stated he was on his way to the hospital.
Police are limiting movement of pilgrims from downhill Pamba to sannidhanam because of the heavy rush.
Earlier in 2011, a major stampede had broken out in Sabraimala on Makara Jyothi Day, killing 106 pilgrims and injuring about 100 more. The stampede arose after a Jeep turned over including hundreds of pilgrims who were returning from a Hindu shrine for the god Ayyappan, on the last day of a yearly festival which attracts devotees from all over.