Stampede: Police to submit initial report in 4 days

Vandiperiyar, Jan. 16: Forensic experts and a special team of the Crime Branch of Kerala police probed Friday's stampede at Pullumedu near Sabarimala that claimed 102 lives and are expected to submit their report next week.

S. Surendran, heading the crime branch team, said the report including forensic findings would be submitted to additional director-general of police (crime branch) Vinson M. Paul in four days.

The six-member team visited the accident spot and gathered evidence. Forensic experts also visited Pullumedu area where the mishap occurred, official sources said.

Besides the Crime Branch probe, Kerala government has also announced a judicial inquiry into the mishap which occurred when devotees were heading home after witnessing 'Makara Jyoti' (celestial light on the eastern horizon which marks the culmination of the two month long pilgrimage season.

Initial reports had stated that a minor accident involving a jeep and an autorickshaw led to a commotion triggering the stampede.

Police denied reports that sufficient number of personnel were not deployed along the Pulmedu route and said it was the forest department's responsibility to make adequate arrangements as the area is part of Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Meanwhile, six more bodies at Kumali hospital were identified and arrangements made to transport them to their respective towns. Most of the deceased were from Tamil Nadu.

The identity of four more victims is yet to be ascertained, hospital sources said.

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