Sabarimala stampede toll reaches 104January 15th, 2011 - 11:15 am ICT by IANS
Vandiperiyar/Kumily (Kerala), Jan 15 (IANS) The toll in the stampede near Kerala’s famed Sabarimala temple climbed to 104 Saturday as more bodies and the injured continued to be brought to hospitals in the area.The stampede occurred around 8.00 p.m. Friday when the pilgrims were returning after watching the celestial Makara Jyothi light, the most important event of the pilgrimage, from a hillock some 30 km from the Sabarimala temple.
The tragedy took place in Pulumedu, a forested area about 10 km from the Vandiperiyar town, and about 30 km from the Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta district. At least 60 people have sustained injuries.
Most of the bodies and the injured have been brought to the Kumily government hospital.
State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac reached the hospital in the morning and said that the state government will meet the expenses for treating the injured even if they have been admitted to private hospitals in Idukki and Kottayam districts.
“A thorough investigation will be done and the state government will meet all the expenses for transporting the bodies to their homes. As the first step, a sum of Rs.5,000 to the injured has been sanctioned,” said Isaac.
The bodies were first brought to the Vandiperiyar government hospital and from there it was moved to the hospital in Kumily.
“Around 43 bodies have been identified so far and a majority of the dead are from nearby states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,” said senior Congress leader E.M. Augusthy.