Kerala fire: Against fireworks ban, says board managing 1,255 temples

  • PTI, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Updated: Apr 11, 2016 17:16 IST
Footwear of the devotees lie scattered inside the temple compound where a fire broke out during a fireworks display at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravur village, Kollam district, Kerala. (AP Photo)

Amid growing clamour for ban on temple fireworks display in Kerala after the Kollam temple tragedy, the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages about 1,255 temples in the state, said on Monday it was not for a complete ban on such displays.

Prayar Goapalakrishnan, president of TDB, said the board was against banning pyrotechnics during temple festivals as they are part of rituals.

“But it should be as per the restrictions of government and court orders with sufficient safety measures”, he told PTI.

“In many temples, bursting firecrackers is a part of rituals and we cannot ban it,” he said.

The board has issued an urgent circular to all temples under it, directing that the firework shows should be carried out in compliance with rules and regulations.

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Board member Ajay Tharayil, however, said he was in favour of a ‘total ban’ on major fireworks.

Meanwhile, M Kutty, president of the Thiruvambadi Devaswom, one of the organisers of the famous Thrissur Pooram to be held on April 17 said, “We will be conducting the festival, observing all legal formalities.”

Fireworks festivities cannot be cancelled, he said, adding that it was an age-old tradition.

Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy had said on Sunday that the government could impose regulations on the display of fireworks but cannot ban them.

“In the name of rituals and traditions, we have limitations. We can regulate them (display of fireworks) but not ban them,” he said.

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister AK Antony said government “should” consider the possibility of banning fireworks display in light of the tragedy.

A devastating fire had engulfed the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi temple complex near Thiruvananthapuram during an unauthorised display of fireworks on Sunday, leaving more than 100 dead and scored injured.

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