Tirupati: Melee at SSD token counter

Tirupati: Melee at SSD token counter

Many pilgrims hurt and one admitted in hospital. TTD decides to allow pilgrims without token to Tirumala for darsan

Tirupati, April 12 : A dozen pilgrims mostly women and children were hurt in the melee at the SSD token issuing counter located at Sri Govindaraja Swamy Choultries here on Tuesday.

The issuing of Time Slotted Sarva Darsan (SSD) tokens resumed at 6 am at the counters in three places in the city today after it was suspended for two days

The TTD cancelled the issuing of the tokens on Sunday and Monday.

However, pilgrims who arrived here unaware of the cancellation in the last two days, started pouring in at the token counters since midnight.

The issuing of tokens which started at 6 a.m. went on smoothly for an hour. Later, with the restive crowd of pilgrims pushing forward led to the jostling at Govindarajswamy Choultry counter.

The few security staff on duty failed to control the jostling went on for thirty minutes, leading to the a near stampede situation resulting in many women, children left suffocating and hurt.

Some good Samaritan s and the security staff rescued the women and children caught in the melee, panicked yelled for help.

The wailing children, crying women added more to the tense situation.

Meanwhile , police also reached the place and brought the situation under control after some time.

A dozen women and children were hurt in the melee while many fainted due to suffocation. One was admitted in hospital.

The incident hit the limelight with the electronic media giving live coverage of the pilgrim crowd going out of control and sufferings of the pilgrims waiting since last night in queue lines at Govindarajaswamy Choultry, Bhudevi Complex and Srinivasan complex where large number people turned out for the tokens.

Senior TTD and Urban police officials one after another inspected the three places where SSD counters are functioning after adverse reports in media highlighting the pilgrims plight, lack of facilities and preparedness on the part of TTD management leaving the pilgrims in lurch.

Leaders of opposition parties including TDP, BJP and JSP strongly condemned the TTD and accused it of miserably failure in anticipating the crowd , leading to the unsavory incident.

The TTD hurriedly announced the allowing of pilgrims without tokens to Tirumala for darshan and also stoped issuing SSD tokens.

TTD Additional EO Dharma Reddy , Chittoor SP Rishanth Reddy, Tirupati Additional SP Supraja and Arifullah inspected the queue lines, at both Tirumala and Tirupati.

TTD also declared stopping the issuing of Break Darshan from Wednesday to Sunday (five days) to cope with heavy rush of pilgrims.

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