High Court pulls up Kerala govt over stampede

Posted By: Pti
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Kochi, Jan 17 (PTI) The Kerala High Court today pulledup the state government for neglecting its warnings on safetyof Sabarimala pilgrims and directed it to file a detailedreport by Thursday on the stampede at Pullmedu that left 102devotees dead.

A division bench comprising justices ThottathilRadhakrishnan and P S Gopinathan, monitoring the affairsrelating to the Sabarimala pilgrimage, directed police andforest departments as also the Travancore Deveswom Board,which manages the temple, to furnish reports on the causesthat led the tragedy.

The judges recalled that they had given a warning tothe authorities on January five about the need to regulate theflow of pilgrims to avoid disasters like stampede.

The court also observed that there had been lack ofco-ordination among various departments involved in conduct ofthe festival at Sabarimala, which attracts millions ofpilgrims during the two-month long season from mid-Novermber.

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

The court also sought to know from government detailsof the help provided to the injured and those stranded in thePullumedu route in the forest area after the accident.

The stampede, one of the worst pilgrimage tragedies ofrecent times, happened when Ayappa devotees were heading homeon Friday last after witnessing ''makar jyoti'', considered anannual celestial phenomenon, with most victims hailing fromTamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Kerala government has announced a judicial inquiryinto the tragedy.

Lack of basic amenities like lighting, water supplyand camping facilities, coupled with insufficient policedeployment were blamed for the incident.

Though Pullmedu route has been used by pilgrims fromTamil Nadu for long, the area had never been sufficientlycovered by security and crowd management plans of Sabarimalapilgrimage.

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