102 killed in Kerala stampede
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Vandiperiyar (Ker), Jan 15: In the worst pilgrim tragedy that struck south India,102 Lord Ayyappa devotees were killed and 50 injured, seven of them seriously, in the stampede that occurred a Pullumedu about seven km from the Sabarimala temple.
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan annouced a judicial inquiry into the mishap and declared a solatium of Rs 5 lakh each for the family of these killed.
The deceased inluded one Sri Lankan woman while majority of them were from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh as the grassland forest trekking path known as `Pullumedu' in the Periyar tiger reserve, is trodden by devotees from these states.
The preliminary report by Idukki District administration stampede was caused by commotion created by minor mishap involving a jeep and an autorikshaw which which fell off to sides after grazing each other while plying the narrow trekking route.
This created a panic among the people trekking route flooded with pilgrims and smaller vehicles paving the way for the stampede.
People them started falling and getting tossed around being trampled upon as the spot was envoloped by darkness and mist with poor lighting on the way.
Police said they did not receive any complaints of any missing cases the toll unlikely to go up further.
All the bodies had been shifted to hospital at Kumali for post-mortem and they had begun to be transported to respective places.
The tragedy occurred when a jeep carrying pilgrims ran into a crowd and fell to the ground, killing some instantly and paving the way for the stampede, rescuers said.
The Forest Department sources, however, said the stampede was the result of the jeep hitting turning an autorickshaw.
So far, the identities of 77 victims had been established, of whom 29 were from Tamil Nadu, 25 from Karnataka, 17 from Andhra Pradesh and 5 from Kerala itself.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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