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Sushma visits stampede site

Vandiperiyar (Ker): Alleging that lapses on part of the Kerala government were mainly responsible for the stampede that killed 102 Sabarimala pilgrims on January 14, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said her party would raise the issue in Parliament.

Visiting the stampede spot at Pullumedu and nearby Kumili town, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha told reporters that the mishap could have been avoided if the government and the concerned agencies had not neglected the report on a similar tragedy that struck Pampa in 1999.

The recommendations of the judicial commission that probed the 1999 stampede which claimed 52 lives at Pampa had made several significant recommendations to improve the safety and crowd control during the pilgrimage season, but they had been put in cold storage, she alleged.

Swaraj said that instead of mere investigations and inquiries, concrete steps were needed to avoid such mishaps in future.

She also said her party would actively support the demand for declaration of Sabarimala as a National Pilgrim Centre, which would ensure the Union Government`s involvement in developing facilities for the hill shrine.

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