Gadkari expresses shock over Sabarimala tragedy

New Delhi: BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Saturday expressed deep shock and dismay over the Sabarimala temple accident and appealed to the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of southern states to devise an intitutional mechanism for the safety of pilgrims.

"Nitin Gadkari has expressed his deep shock and dismay at the loss of lives in an unfortunate accident at the holy temple shrine of Sabarimala in Kerala and in the resultant stampede. He has conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families which have lost their near and dear ones in the tragedy," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

He also exhorted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the initiative of calling a meeting of the chief ministers of the five southern states of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka to develop a mechanism for the safety of devotees visiting different shrines in the region.

"The meeting should be called with a view to devising an institutional mechanism to ensure safety and well-being of the pilgrims visiting all the religious shrines in these states so that such tragedies could be avoided," Rudy said.

Gadkari also hoped that the state Government will make requisite security arrangements to facilitate smooth conduct of `darshan` at the holy shrine by devotees.

The BJP President asked Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to rush to the spot and provide aide to the victims.

More than 100 people were killed in the stampede at the famous shrine yesterday. BJP described the incident as "bizzare and unfortunate".

"Gadkari has appealed to the state government of Kerala to provide all necessary medical assistance to the injured immediately and has hoped that evacuation operations will be undertaken on a war footing to provide succour to the victims," Rudy said.

He has also appealed to Kerala government to provide ex-gratia relief to the families of victims of the tragedy.

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