WARANGAL: Lakhs of devotees made it to the tribal shrine to seek the blessings of Sammakka and Saralamma on the third day of the Medaram Jatara on Friday. This marks the most significant day of the festivities as both deities can seen at the altars. People occupied every inch of space in the village turning it into a sea of devotees.
The queues got longer and stretched out on to the road leading to entrance of the temple. In order to avoid jostling and over-crowding, police blocked the flow of devotees by diverting them to other entrances. Consequently, many side exits were converted into entrances so as to avoid possibilities of stampede. The surge of devotees continued into the night and they filled both sides of Jampanna vagu. Along the stretch were huge shelters for the crods to take rest but even they were filled. Temporary settlements could be seen up to a radius of three kilometres.
Devotees, attired in traditional tribal outfits, arrived at the temple in processions. They offered prasadam to the deities even as the police personnel rushed them towards the exit gate.
Officials had a hard time controlling the huge crowd. NSS volunteers and police personnel deployed at the queue lines and inside the darshan area had a field day as flow of devotees never ended.
In-charge Collector R.V. Karnan, IG Y. Nagi Reddy and special officer V.P. Goutham personally monitored the crowd movement at the altars. Panchayat Raj Minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao and Tribal Welfare Minister Satyavathi Rathod inspected several areas of Medaram to ensure that the devotees did not face any inconvenience.
Vehicular traffic was diverted effectively by converting several routes into one-way entry or exit points from Medaram.
At least 70 lakh devotees visited the shrine in three days.
Devotees suffer as VIPs queue up at Medaram
As several public representatives and prominent personalities turned up at Medaram to have darshan of Sammakka and Saralamma on Friday, devotees were put to a lot of inconvenience.
Due to the visits of Governors and the Chief Minister, people were left to stand in queues as their movements were halted. The devotees offer jaggery and coconuts to the deities. They throw their offerings into the altar enclosure, where those inside could get hurt. To avoid this, the officials stopped queues completely and cleaned the altars filled with jaggery to make it convenient for VIPs to have darshan. This exercise was taken up twice when Governors and the Chief Minister arrived. The devotees had to wait for at least one hour and some of them fell sick.
It was only after the VIPs had left that devotees were allowed to enter the temple. However, there was a scramble. It was so forceful that some devotees sustained injuries when the barricades were thrown asunder.
Adding to the ordeal was the arrival of public representatives, who came along with their family members and followers. Despite the VIP darshan route, they broke jumped lines to take a short cut into the temple. Meanwhile, despite restrictions imposed in the vicinity, the VVIPs convoy halted right in front of the temple. This caused inconvenience to the devotees in the already crowded area. It also caused traffic snarls and ambulances failed to to attend emergency calls. The devotees expressed anger over the inconvenience caused to them.