Kerala: Stampede in Sabarimala temple amid heavy rush; 40 injured, 3 critical

Sabarimala : At least 40 pilgrims were injured, three of them seriously, in a stampede at the Sabarimala temple on Sunday night after a barricade gave way in the huge rush, authorities said.

Due to the heavy rush, a rope barricade between 'Sannidhanam' and 'Mallikapura' snapped and the pilgrims, who were leaning on it fell on each other, Pathnamthitta District Collector R Girija told PTI.

According to ANI, Ayyappa Dharma Sena President Rahul Easwar has said that the situation has been brought under control.

The injured were initially taken to the Sannidhanam hospital of which two seriously injured were shifted to Kottayam medical college hospital and three others to Pamba hospital, she said.

The two grievously injured pilgrims have suffered head and rib injuries but they are conscious, she said. There was a heavy rush of pilgrims today, the penultimate day before the culmination of 41-day 'mandala pooja'.

According to the temple authorities, with Monday being a key day in the two-month-long Sabarimala festival, there was an unprecedented rush of devotees on Sunday and the incident occurred when the sanctum santorum of the temple was opened late Sunday evening.

The stampede occurred just as the holy 'Thanga Angi' procession carrying ornaments worn by Lord Ayyappa on Mandala pooja on Monday had reached the temple this evening.

The procession starts from Aranmula Sree Parthasarthy temple four days before the Mandala pooja.

To control the crowd, police had set up barricades but on account of the huge rush, the barricade broke and caused a stampede, in which the pilgrims got injured.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said there was heavy rush of pilgrims at the shrine when the 'thanga angi' procession arrived.

He was at the temple shortly before the stampede and had left the shrine after the 'deeparadhana' (evening prayers) with the Thanga Angi.

The minister said he was on his way to the hospital. He later said the situation has been brought under control.

Police are restricting the movement of pilgrims from downhill Pamba to Sannidhanam because of the heavy rush.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 25, 2016 22:11:52 IST