KERALA

Situation turns difficult at Sabarimala

Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: Sabarimala witnessed a huge crowd as tens of thousands of Ayyappa devotees undertook their annual pilgrimage to the hill temple on Monday.

The situation turned unmanageable, as the heavy inflow of pilgrims from Pampa as well as Pulmedu (Uppupara) continued for the third consecutive day.

The police had to block pilgrims at Pampa for a few hours from 3 p.m. to ease pressure on the hillock. District Collector Raju Narayanaswamy alerted Director-General of Police Raman Srivastava to the alarming situation. The Collector sought more police personnel for crowd management on the trekking path as well as Sannidhanam urgently.

A total of 200 police personnel have been mobilised from 14 districts and the Crime Branch, and the first batch of them reached Pampa by Monday afternoon.

The pilgrims were blocked at Marakkoottam on the trekking path. Those on the way to the temple were permitted to take only the Saramkuthy route, while those returning were diverted through Chandranandan Road.

S. Sreejith, Police Special Officer at Sannidhanam, said the police had to block pilgrims at various points to regulate the flow and avoid stampede-like situations.

The heavy influx of pilgrims through the Pulmedu route from Kumili, coupled with the inflow from Pampa, had left the nearly 2,000-strong police force in a tight spot.

Raman Unni, Ayyappa Seva Sanghom camp officer at Pampa, suggested that pilgrims leave address cards with phone numbers in the pockets of children accompanying them to Sabarimala so that it could be of great help to trace their parents in case of an emergency.

Mandalapuja

The Mandalapuja at the temple will be held prior to Utchapuja on Thursday.

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