The preliminary report on the Sabarimala tragedy that killed 102 pilgrims last week counters the allegation that there were not enough policemen on the spot to avert the tragedy.
The report, prepared by B. Sandhya, Inspector General of Police, Ernakulam Range, was handed over to Jacob Punnoose, Director General of Police and then to Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Minister for Home, on Monday. They had visited the accident spot on Monday.
The accident spot is situated inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve where not even wireless sets are not allowed so as not to disturb the wild animals. This made communication near impossible there.
The sighting of 'makaravilakku' was done by around 7.15 pm this year, almost an hour later than usual timing. By that time, darkness had fallen over the area.
Even then, the pilgrims started downhill trekking and this flow went on without any untoward incident for nearly an hour. The accident, believed to have triggered by a jeep and autorickshaw toppling, happened around 8.20 pm.
This was over in just about 4 minutes and more than 100 were killed by then. A detailed probe need to be made into what actually caused the accident, Ms. Sandhya told The Hindu.
“Even within the existing limitations, the force did a good job in bringing the situation under control and completing the evacuation by 2 a.m.”, she said. The policemen present at the accident site alerted higher officials immediately and they controlled the crowd effectively.
The State government has announced a judicial probe into the incident and Crime Branch Superintendent of Police S. Surendran has already initiated a probe.
Keywords: Sabarimala stampede