More than 10 lakh devotees from across Tamil Nadu converged in the city to witness the ritual of Lord Kallalagar entering the Vaigai River held as part of the Chithirai festival on Friday.
MADURAI: Five people, including three youths, died in separate incidents during the Kallalagar procession held in Madurai on Friday. While three deaths were due to suspected drowning, one youth was found murdered, police said.
More than 10 lakh devotees from across Tamil Nadu converged in the city to witness the ritual of Lord Kallalagar entering the Vaigai River held as part of the Chithirai festival on Friday. As the water flow in the river was strong this year, only a few people were allowed to enter the river to ensure the safety of the pilgrims. Two people died in a stampede during last year’s festival.
Thousands witnessed the event from atop the check dam facility near AV Bridge in Madurai. Official sources said Surya Prakash (23) of MK Puram was found dead with injuries near Madhichiyam areas near the Government Rajaji Hospital. Speaking to TNIE, Narandra Nayar, city police commissioner, said that based on the inquiry, police have secured four youths in the case. A probe is on.
Bodies of a 40-year-old man and two youths, one of whom was identified as Premkumar (18) of Vilacheri, were recovered from the check dam area near the AV Bridge by authorities. While the identity of other victims is still not known, sources said the deaths could be due to drowning. The fire department’s delay in deploying rubber boats in the check dam area has hampered monitoring activity, sources said.
‘Deaths occured despite taking precautions’
Police said, Sudalai Kannu of North Masi Street, who was witnessing the Theerthavari ritual, had fallen unconscious and later died. He passed away due to cardiac issues before reaching the hospital, sources said. Dr Aneesh Shekhar, the district collector, told TNIE, “Proper arrangements were made at the event venue. Despite the precaution multiple deaths occurred. Action will be taken based on the report.”