Kollam temple fire: Probe panel blames cops, govt

The Justice PS Gopinathan Commission, which is probing the 2016 mishap involving fireworks at a temple in Kollam district, has found lapses on the part of the police and the district administration. In one of the worst temple tragedies in Kerala, 110 people died and more than 300 were injured during an explosion caused due to an unauthorised display of fireworks on the Puttingal temple precincts in the early hours of April 10, 2016.
People look at the damaged structure after a massive fire broke out during a fireworks display at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravoor village, Kollam district in 2016.(PTI/ File Photo)
People look at the damaged structure after a massive fire broke out during a fireworks display at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravoor village, Kollam district in 2016.(PTI/ File Photo)
Published on Dec 25, 2019 09:16 AM IST
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Kochi | ByPress Trust of India

The Justice PS Gopinathan Commission, which is probing the 2016 mishap involving fireworks at a temple in Kollam district, has found lapses on the part of the police and the district administration.

In one of the worst temple tragedies in Kerala, 110 people died and more than 300 were injured during an explosion caused due to an unauthorised display of fireworks on the Puttingal temple precincts in the early hours of April 10, 2016.

“What happened that day was the denouncement of a criminal and disregard for law and public safety that had fossilised over the years; for which responsibility rests equally on the shoulders of the organising committee, the fireworks contractors, as well as on all the authorities involved,” the judicial panel said in its report submitted to the government in July this year. “The mishap was a tragedy waiting to happen, one that was in the making over the past so many years, right under the watch of the keepers of the law,” the report added.

Had the district collector and the additional district magistrate “conveyed their refusal to permit” the display of fireworks, the display would not have occurred, it said.

“A detailed inquiry into the tragedy at Puttingal has revealed that it was the result of coming together of a lot of diverse causative factors, including the adamant stance of the temple committee to have a massive fireworks display without ensuring minimum safety standards...,” according to the report.

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