Sabarimala: Minister, Oppn blame Kerla govt
New Delhi: Two days after the stampede hit Sabarimala pilgrims killing over 100 devotees, Karnataka government and the Congress have blamed the Kerala government for the accident.
On Makara Sankranti day, at 7.05 pm, the devotion reaches a crescendo at Sabarimala as Makara Jyothi, the celestial light, appears thrice on the hill next to the sanctum sanctorum.
At 8:35, the tragedy struck. Over 100 pilgrims, returning after witnessing Makara Jyothi were killed and several others injured when a jeep went out of control and rammed into devotees in a narrow forest stretch at Pullumedu, triggering a stampede.
And now the blame game begins. Karnataka Law Minister Suresh Kumar blames negligence of the Kerala government for the stampede.
“They took things for granted. We have the recent example of Kumbh mela where nearly one-and-a-half crore people took bath in Haridwar. We had excellent arrangement. So I think this is sure negligence on the part of Kerala government departments and taking things for granted,” said Suresh Kumar.
There were around three lakh pilgrims at Pullumedu and to take care of them there were just a few policemen and a couple of doctors. The place dosen't have proper roads or communication facilities. In fact, the forest department had warned crowd management would be tough but the state government ignored it. State Opposition Leader says government apathy is the cause of the tragedy.
“The government can see the situation only with a sense of guilt. Irresponsible attitude of the government is the cause of this tragedy. The affected families should be compensated at least with Rs 10 lakhs,” said Opposition leader, Oommen Chandy.
A similar tragedy had killed 52 people at Pampa in 1999. A judicial panel was set up then. It had recommended the development of the Pullumedu route, the place were the stampede occurred, but clearly nothing has been done.