At least 25 persons were injured, two of them critically, following a stampede at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on Sunday. There was extra rush at the popular temple because of the idol was adorned with the Thanga Angi jewels during the evening puja. The critically injured 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 said that police has initiated crowd control measures and the situation is under control.
Devotes had been waiting for hours for the Puja to end so that they could get a darshan of the Ayyappa idol. Reports said the stampede occurred when some people tried to cut into the queue.
WATCH VIDEO | Sabarimala Temple: 25 Injured In Stampede, Two Critical
The stampede occurred 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 four days before the Mandala pooja.
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Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said there was a heavy rush of pilgrims at the shrine when the thanga angi was brought. He was at the temple shortly before the stampede and had left the shrine after ‘deeparadhana’ (evening prayers) with Thanga Angi. The minister said he was on his way to the hospital.
Police are restricting 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 began after a Jeep turned over involving 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.