Four pilgrims from Tamil Nadu who were on their way to Tirumala, abode of Lord Venkateswara, on foot were killed, when an SUV mowed them down at Konappareddipalle village, 9 km from Pakala railway junction, in the early hours of Thursday.

A group of 55 pilgrims, aged between 25 and 60, from Keelmorappuram village in Harur taluk of Tamil Nadu set out on March 8 on a padayatra to Tirumala. The pilgrims were slowly moving towards their destination in batches through the Krishnagiri-Tirupati national highway, taking frequent halts for cooking and rest. 

At 5 a.m. on Thursday, while they were walking along the road, an SUV, coming at high speed, ran over the pilgrims, killing two of them on the spot. Two others were declared dead at the area hospital in Pakala. The occupants of the SUV abandoned the vehicle and fled into the fields in the cover of darkness. 

The deceased were identified as Selvan (47), Chinnaraja (57), Valli (35) and Ganapathi (45).

Pakala Circle Inspector Raghavan rushed to the spot and sent the bodies for autopsy, besides arranging temporary shelter for the rest of the shocked pilgrims at Pakala.

Mr. Raghavan said preliminary investigation revealed that the SUV was registered in Maharashtra and was also on its way to Tirupati. A case was registered and search is on for occupants the SUV.