107 die as bus rams into a crowd of devotees in Indian state
Trivendrum: 107 devotees of Lord Ayyappa died in a ghastly road accident near the temple in the Western Hills of Kerala, an Indian state on Friday night. Over 200 were injured in the stampede that followed.
Police re ports said that a bus lost control and rammed into the devotees who were trekking the hills after having a darshan of the Lord on the holy day of Makara Sankranti. When the bus rammed into their midst, people ran in fear and there was stampede. The bus plunged into the valley taking with it not only its passengers, trekkers on the hill road. Kerala Home Minister, Director General of police and collectors of the nearby districts rushed to the spot around midnight and started rescue and relief operations. Kerala authorities said that the deceased and injured were from Kerala, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh states. As the place was in total darkness, rescue operations became difficult in the night. However, by morning, the Central government has also sent rescue teams and operations are in full swing in the morning. The injured were rushed to near by hospitals. The accident occurred on the hill road between Periya and Polimedu, around 7 kilo metres from the main temple.
Some 60 lakh devotees visited the temple on Friday when Makara Vilakku a sparkling light appears in the sky every year on Sankranti day (the night of January 14).
Rs. 5 lakhs for families of deceased:
Kerala Chief Minister Mr. Achutanandan has announced that the government would be paying a compensation of 5 lakkh rupees to the next of kin of each of the deceased. He has also said that 50 thousand rupees would be paid to the seriously injured and 25 thousand rupees to those with minor injuries. Bodies of the deceased would be sent to their places at government cost and those injured would be treated by the government, he has announced after visiting the accident spot.
20 persons from Andhra Pradesh among the deadR
Reports said that there were 20 devotees among the deceased from Andhra Pradesh. However, the state government has said that only 14 bodies were so far identified. The state government is also making arrangements to get the bodies of the dead to the state and get proper treatment to the injured.
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Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India