TDB resents blaming it for Sabarimala stampede

Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Sabarimala temple, has come out against putting all the blame on it for last week's stampede that claimed lives of 102 pilgrims.

In his first official statement on the tragedy, TDB president M Rajagopalan Nair said the charge that lapses on the part of the temple board had led to the stampede was far from true.

First of all the spot where the tragedy occurred was outside the borders of the area under the control of TDB as it lay at 13 km away from the northern periphery of the shrine, he said.

The mishap occurred when there was a heavy rush of pilgrims at Pullumedu while they were returning home through various routes after witnessing Makarajyoti.

The propaganda that the tragedy had occurred in the area coming under the sphere of Sabarimala and that it was caused by the failures of the temple board were contrary to facts and extremely regrettable, Nair said.

Despite unprecedented increase in arrival of pilgrims this season, the two-month long pilgrimage had been conducted smoothly. The arrangements at Sannidhanam were made in collaboration with all departments and TDB was grateful to all agencies that extended their support, he said.