One dead in Sabarimala stampede, crowd control stepped up

via PTI published on January 5, 2011

Sabarimala : One person was killed and 15 others injured in a stampede in the hill shrine of Sabarimala prompting authorities to regulate flow of devotees and vehicles.

A 67-year-old devotee from Manjunath village in Andhra Pradesh died in a hospital last evening after the stampede yesterday, caused by the snapping of a rope used to control the flow of devotees at the Pampa base camp.

As thousands continued to pour in at the base camp at Pampa, devotees were allowed to go up only in regulated batches to avoid over-crowding atop the hill, where the shrine of Lord Ayyappa is located.

Police said movement of vehicles was being regulated from Vadasserikkara, about 50 km from Pampa, as pilgrims continued to arrive in all modes of transport, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Additional forces have been deployed to manage the crowd and vehicle flow, which are expected to increase further in the coming days before the pilgrimage scales to its finale on the Makar Samkranthi on January 14.

“The pilgrim flow in the last three days has been quite unprecedented. They have had to wait 10 to 15 hours to get darshan by going through the eighteen steps of the shrine”, a temple official told PTI.

Besides police, security and disaster management forces, voluntary outfits like Akhil Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham have stepped in to help pilgrims by keeping up supply of drinking water and providing snacks.

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