Achuthanandan orders judicial probe into Kerala stampede

Vandipaeriyar (Kerala), Jan 15 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan on Saturday announced a judicial probe into the stampede that claimed around 104 lives and left over 60 others injured near Vandipaeriyar on Friday night.

The Chief Minister, who flew down by a helicopter to Kumali where the bodies of the victims were brought, also announced Rs five lakh as compensation to the family of each of the victims.

"The government would try to get the services of a sitting high court judge for conducting the probe," said Achuthanandan.

He also discussed with his cabinet colleagues, who were already on the spot, about the requirements for transporting the bodies to their homes, as most of the dead were from the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Those injured seriously would be given Rs. Rs 50,000 and Rs. 25,000 will be given to those with minor injuries.

The Kerala Government has also announced a three-day mourning in the state.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh have condoled the death of Sabarimala pilgrims.

Dr. Singh sanctioned a relief of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the stampede and Rs 50,000 to those injured from the Prime Minister's relief fund.

Defence Minister A K Antony has also offered Kerala Government all help from defence forces for rescue operations.

The Southern Naval Command dispatched an emergency medical team to the accident site at Sabarimala.

Most of the victims, who died in the stampede, were from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. They were returning home through the forest route after the 'Makarajyoti darshan', considered a celestial phenomenon, at the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa. (ANI)

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