Ayyappa devotees treated worse than that of Animals by KSRTC

via HK published on November 17, 2010

Pampa: We do have atleast animal right activists to question if they are transported from one place to another without exceeding the stipulated number but for the transportation of ayyappa devotees no such law of land will come to their aid for the sole reason they are unfortunately the followers of majority religion.

More than thirty pilgrims, including old women and children, suffered injuries and several collapsed out of to fatigue due to heavy rush and stampede on Wednesday, the first day of the annual two-month pilgrim season at the famed Lord Ayyappa shrine among Kerala’s Sabarimala mountains.

Tension prevailed on Wednesday morning at the bus station of the State-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) at Pampa, the base cap for Sabarimala, when hundreds of devotees laid siege to it after the authorities failed to provide buses for them.

Ayyappa devotees were packed in KSRTC buses in a situation which is worse than that of animals. Transport department which boasted about ‘Secularisation’ of it’s buseshad had allotted only 25 buses in place of 250 buses.This happens in a state were they allow luxury buses from Haj Houses to Airports for the Hajis going to Mecca.

The swelling crowds of devotees forced the authorities to impose strict control on their movement to Sannidhanam from the Pampa base camp by late Wednesday morning. The queues of devotees from the shrine extended up to Marakkoottam junction about a kilometer away from the Sannidhanam early in the morning.

The KSRTC bus station at Pampa turned into a sea of devotees by late morning as the authorities failed to arrange enough buses for their return from Sabarimala. Enraged by the long but useless wait for buses, the devotees laid siege to the station causing some tension in the area.

Transports Minister Jose Thettayil instructed the KSRTC to immediately send 25 buses to Pampa. The Minister had earlier promised to arrange 250 buses for service from Pampa during the season but sources said only 25were operating from there on Wednesday morning.

The current pilgrimage season, during which more than three crore pilgrims are expected to have darshan at the shrine, would conclude on January 19. The 41-day Mandalam festival poojas that began on Wednesday (the first day of Vrischikam month of the Malayalam calendar) would end with closure of the shrine on the eleventh day of the month of Dhanu (December 27).

The shrine will reopen after a three-day recess on the evening of December 30 for the Makaravilakku season, the highlight of which is the darshan of the Makarajyothi and the Makara Samkrama Pooja on January 14.

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