THIRUVANANMALAI: A decades-old temple car of Arni Kottai Arulmighu Kailasanathar Alayam in the town overturned on top of devotees, killing five and leaving eight others seriously injured. The incident took place at about 6 pm on Tuesday when the temple car was taken out on a procession as part of the Chithrai Pournami Thiruvizha that is celebrated annually in the town. Both District Collector Anshul Mishra and SP V Ramya Bharathi rushed to the spot and conducted an enquiry.
According to sources in the police department, Chengalvarayan, Ramadoss of Irumpedu village, Saravanan of S V Nagaram in Arni, Sabari and Jawahar of Arni town were killed.
District Collector Anshul Mishra, while talking to Express, said that the devotees pulled the temple car very fast which led to the mishap. “Of the eight injured, four have been shifted to the Vellore Government Medical College Hospital for further treatment. The condition of the two persons is critical. Four others are undergoing treatment in Arni GH.”
“I have asked the HR & CE officials to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident to find out what led to the mishap. It will help us avert such mishaps in the future,” said the Collector.
The eight injured include Arumugam, Mani, Senthil Kumar and Ganesh. Another individual named Krithi is in an unconscious state. Police stated that all of them are undergoing treatment at the GH in Arni. The temple car, which was taken out on a procession around the town on Tuesday morning, was returning to the temple, when the accident occured. The incident took place in Fort North Street, which was just 200 metres away from the temple that is located adjacent to Arni Fort.
According to eye-witnesses, the massive wooden chariot, measuring around 35 feet in height and carrying the presiding deity Kailasanathar and Aramvala Nayaki Amman, was moving a little too fast. To reduce its speed, a group of pilgrims pulled at it from behind, while another group laid a large wooden log at the front wheels in an attempt to slow it down. However, this is said to have unbalanced the car and causing it to topple on its side.
“The total weight of the temple car transferred onto its front. In the impact, the top portion fitted to the wheelers uprooted and fell on the pilgrims and crushed them,” said a police officer.
Police personnel and other devotees immediately helped extricate the persons trapped beneath the temple car and rushed them to the GH. It was lifted and moved using an earthmover.