MADURAI: Two devotees, including a 62-year-old woman, lost their lives in a stampede during the 12th day event of the annual Chithirai festival in Madurai on Saturday. Chief Minister M K Stalin announced a solatium of `5 lakh each to the families of K Selvam (47) of Uthamapalayam in Theni and P Jeyalaskhmi (62) of Sellur in Madurai. The victims collapsed due to suffocation before being rushed to Government Rajaji Hospital where doctors declared them dead. “Eight others, including one critically-injured victim, are undergoing treatment at the hospital. The bodies of the deceased were handed over to their families after postmortem,” sources said.
Lakhs of devotees crowded along the banks of the Vaigai River from 4 am on Saturday to watch the grand entry of Lord Kallazhagar into the river. The stampede happened when Lord Kallazhagar’s procession was passing through Goripalayam in Madurai city. The 15-day event, which commenced on April 5 at the renowned Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple, saw thousands of devotees converging in Madurai over the past two weeks.
Hundreds of police personnel under Madurai Police Commissioner T Senthil Kumar were deployed to manage the crowd on Saturday. Though people were told not to enter Vaigai river, many including women with children stepped into the river, police sources said. Ministers Palanivel Thiaga Rajan and P Moorthy and Madurai MP Su Venkatesan visited the injured at the hospital. Minister P Moorthy later told reporters that the number of devotees at the event far exceeded the expectations of the administration.
CM gives Rs 5 L relief
Chief Minister announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of K Selvam (47) of Uthamapalayam in Theni and P Jeyalaskhmi (62) of Sellur in Madurai