Grief hangs over families of stampede victims

Grief hangs over families of stampede victims

Curious faces assembled in this border town between Kerala and Tamil Nadu were still trying to make sense of the grave human tragedy that has left many families devastated.
Logesh, a 12-year-old pilgrim would know by the time this is printed that his father is no more. Logesh had come to witness “Makara Vilakku” along with his father Kesav, his brother Raghav and son Akash. Logesh had escaped from the melee, so had Raghav. However, neither Kesav nor 10-year-old Akash was seen.

As fate would have willed, Akash  was lying buried in a heap of bodies for about 30 minutes till a hand pulled him out. “Ayyappa Swami Kappaathu’’, he said when Deccan Herald met him in front of the Kumily hospital. However, Keshav, 50, was not as lucky as his body was later recovered from the heap. Logesh was sent off early without knowing that his father was no more.   

In an atmosphere of overarching grief, the crime branch began investigations into the cause of the accident that occurred on Friday night at Pulumedu where about a lakh pilgrims had gathered to watch the revered “Makara Jyothi” light on the Sabarimala hills.

Badrinath, a resident of Bellary will forever dread missed calls on his phone. When his friends realised that the body with the mangled face piled up in a lorry nearby was that of his brother, he had  refused to believe them. A missed call to his brother’s cell phone number was all that was needed for it to be confirmed.With trepidation, he punched the numbers and the ring that emanated from the body was unmistakable. It was indeed that of his brother. An injured Badrinath had been admitted to Vandiperiyar hospital and later taken to Theni.

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