TN: Stampede At Temple Near Tiruchirapalli Kills 7, Injures 12 Others
Seven people were killed and 12 injured on April 21, in a stampede at the Sri Karuppanaswamy temple at Muthayampalayam near Thuraiyur, Tiruchirappalli district in Tamil Nadu. Four of the deceased were women.
On Sunday, devotees turned up in large numbers at the private temple to receive ‘pidi kasu’ (coins), when the tragedy occurred. As part of the Chithra Pournami festival, these coins are given by the shrine’s fortune teller M.D. Dhanapalsamy, who also runs it.
This annual event has been held at the temple for more than a decade now, attracting devotees from several districts. Around 8:45 am, the stampede took place at the entrance of the temple with devotees arriving in large number to receive the coins. The stampede occurred despite the deployment of police and fire and rescue service personnel at around in the vicinity of the temple.
What had happened?
According to Tiruchi Collector S. Sivarasu, who inspected the spot, the stampede took place due to a chaotic situation created by a rumour that the coins would get over, reported The Hindu. Devotees believe that these coins have the power to fetch them wealth and happiness.
The Collector further said that while several devotees rushed towards the entrance where wooden barricades had been erected, some were already standing near it. The stampede was a result of this sudden rush.
“The tragedy occurred when there was a huge rush at the entrance,” said M. Ganesan of Nelliampalayam village. “Things got worse and I fell down on the ground and many stamped on me and others,” said 33-year-old K. Periyasamy, a devotee from Cuddalore district, who was undergoing treatment at the Thuraiyur Government Hospital.
Locals said that the chaos grew worse with devotees pushing others in their bid to get away from the spot. While the event was stopped following the stampede, several ambulances were immediately rushed to the spot to take the injured to the hospital.
The deceased and the injured
The names of the deceased were given by police as 60-year-old R. Lakshmikanthan, 33-year-old K. Rajavel, 38-year-old S. Kandhayee, 50-year-old A. Shanthi, 50-year-old Ramar, 50-year-old V. Poongavanam, and 35-year-old R. Valli. Among the 12 injured people, there were nine women and a 15-year-old boy. The deceased were from Cuddalore, Karur Namakkal, Perambalur, Salem and Villupuram districts.
The temple was inspected by Inspector General of Police (central zone) V. Varatharaju and Superintendent of Police Ziaul Haque. Dhanapalsamy was arrested by the Thuraiyur police, who booked a case against him under IPC 304 (II) (Act done with the knowledge that is likely to cause death but without any intention to cause death or to cause bodily injury).
Condolences were expressed over the stampede deaths by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. A solatium of Rs 2 lakh has been announced by PM Modi to the families of the deceased, from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. Financial assistance of Rs 50,000 was also approved by him to those who were injured in the incident.
Saddened by the loss of lives due to the stampede at a temple in Thuraiyur, Trichy. My condolences to the families of those who passed away and prayers with the injured. All possible help is being extended by the authorities.
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 21, 2019
A solatium of ₹1 lakh was announced by Palaniswami to the families of the deceased, along with the assistance of ₹50,000 for those injured.