Police, TDB file reports on Sabarimala tragedy

Kochi, Jan 20 (PTI) Complying with the deadline set bythe Kerala High Court, the state police and TravancoreDevaswom Board today filed reports before it on the stampedeat Pullumedu that claimed the lives of 102 Sabarimalapilgrims.

Kerala DGP Jacob Punnose and the Board filed thereports before a division bench comprising justices ThothathilB Radhakrishnan and P S Gopinathan.

Expressing displeasure over neglect of its warnings onthe safety of Sabarimala pilgrims, the bench had on Mondayrapped the state government and directed police, forestdepartment and TDB officials to file reports on the tragedy byJanuary 20.

The hill shrine attracts millions of devotees duringthe two-month pilgrimage season from mid-November.

The bench had recalled that it had asked theauthorities earlier this month to regulate the flow ofpilgrims to avoid disasters like the stampede. It had observedthat there had been lack of co-ordination among variousdepartments involved in the conduct of the festival atSabarimala.

"We want to know what had happened. Explain how themishap occurred," the judges had said while issuing thedirection.

The stampede had occurred at Pullumedu on January 14as devotees were returning after witnessing the ''MakaraJyothi'' (celestial light).

Forest department sources said earlier that totalneglect of its repeated warnings against unregulated entry ofvehicles into the narrow hill route at Pullumedu was a vitalfactor for the tragedy.

The department had said it had been under pressurefrom state agencies, the temple board, lobby of vehicleoperators and local politicians to allow traffic into thesensitive route at Pullumedu, closed a few years ago.

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