102 pilgrims die in Sabarimala stampede
Lakhs of pilgrims had thronged the temple on Thursday to witness the Jyothi at around 7.05 pm, Thu
Relatives of pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, who have not returned home, have arrived here to look for them, he said, adding that photographs and particulars of the dead will be made available to the relatives to help them locate their dear ones.
Speaking about the injured, Punnoose said the number of injured is quite few because they were evacuated first and were admitted to a hospital in Tamil Nadu. Some others have also received minor injuries.
Early on Saturday, the Centre stepped in and took over the rescue operations. The entire stampede site has been cleared up, sources said.
Kerala Education Minister M A Baby said most of the people died in the stampede which broke out after the accident at 8.15 PM.
The pilgrims had camped atop a hill called Pullumedu to have a darshan of the Jyothi that was witnessed at 7.50 pm Thursday. Soon after the Jyothi, pilgrims made a rush downhill to reach their homes for Pongal.
Defence Minister A K Antony said the stampede was a national tragedy and said that the Centre would do everything possible to help identify the victims.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has directed the Idukki district administration to provide speedy relief to the injured.
This year, there was unprecedented rush with pilgrims having had to wait for 28 hours for a darshan.
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IANS reports: Earlier, lakhs lf pilgrims witnessed the Makara Jyothi that appeared thrice on the horizon.