42 Sabarimala pilgrims ,including 14 from AP injured in stampede near Ayyappa temple

42 Sabarimala pilgrims ,including 14 from AP injured in stampede near Ayyappa temple

VIJAYAWADA/KOCHI,Dec26: At least 25 Ayyappa devotees, including 17 from Andhra Pradesh were injured, following a stampede near the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on Sunday night.Two devotees from Gorantla village of AP’s Anantapur district are critical, said doctors.

There was an extra rush at the popular shrine as the idol was adorned with `Thanga Angi’ jewels during evening puja. The temple shuts from Monday and will reopen for darshan on December 30 for the `Makara Vellukku’ festival. The stampede occurred near Malikappuram Devi temple, 200m from Ayyappa temple.

The injured have been rushed to hospitals at Pamba and Kottayam. Ayyappa Dharma Sena pre sident Rahul Easwar confirmed most of the injured were from Andhra Pradesh. He said police have launched crowd control measures.

 Two pilgrims from Narasaraopet in Guntur district are missing. Andhra Pradesh home minister Nimmakayala China Rajappa and information minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy called Kerala DGP Loknath Behera and sought his assistance to provide medical help to injured pilgrims from AP . Speaking to reporters, Reddy said he urged the Kerala government to provide transport to stranded pilgrims. He, however, said the government was waiting for more details. He said some pilgrims called families in Anantapur to say that several people were injured. Arrangements at Malikappuram Devi temple were inadequate.
 Pilgrims from AP first visit the Malikappuram srine before proceeding to Ayyappa temple.AP sends one of the largest contingents of pilgrims to Sabirimala. The stampede occurred minutes before the holy Thanga Angi’ procession carrying ornaments of Lord Ayyappa reached the temple.
 The procession starts from Aranmula Sree Parthasarthy temple four days before the mandala’ puja.
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