Kerala temple fire: Govt decides not to ban use of fireworks in state

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Updated: Apr 15, 2016 09:18 IST
People stand next to debris after a fire broke out at a temple in Kollam in Kerala, India, April 10, 2016. (REUTERS)

The Kerala state government announced on Thursday that it would not support a complete ban on fireworks, according to chief minister Oommen Chandy.

The CM was speaking at an all-party meeting organised after a fireworks competition held at the Puttingal Devi temple in the coastal town of Paravur, Kollam district started an inferno that killed more than a hundred people and injured more than 300 on Sunday, April 10.

Kerala home minister Ramesh Chennithala announced that the government instead would ban competitions to prevent the use of fireworks in Kerala, adding that it was the responsibility of the police and security agencies had to enforce norms.

Read: Kerala temple blaze: HC imposes conditional ban on fireworks in temples

Chennithala also said that the government was unable to “completely ban” fireworks, and that the impetus laid on state police to check the chemicals used in firecrackers, and sanction the use of “disastrous materials.”

Read: Kerala blaze: Locals accuse temple officials of using political clout

Chandy had also approached the Kerala high court to allow fireworks to be used during Thrissur Pooram, which is one of the largest Hindu festivals in the country. The high court granted the use of firecrackers for the festival on Thursday.

The scale of the tragedy led to locals and other bodies seeking a ban on the practice of bursting crackers during temple festivities.

Read: Smoke after blaze: Kerala temples, churches to skip fireworks

While temple trust president SL Jayalal, secretary J Krishnankutty and three other members — Shivaprasad, Surendran Pillai and Ravindran Pillai — surrendered before Crime Branch officers, two more — Surendranathan Pillai and Murugesan — were picked up by the police.

A case was registered against at least 20 people, including managing committee members and the contractors responsible for the fireworks display.

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