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Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy

Hearing the matter related to the deadly Puttingal temple fire last Sunday, Kerala High Court on a plea by one of its judges heard the case and recommended handing over the inquiry to the CBI.

Kerala High Court on Tuesday banned all sound-making fireworks display in all places of worship in state between sunset and sunrise.

The State Government clarified its stand and said that no permission was given for the fireworks inside the temple and reiterated a clear breach of law.

Questioning the Kerala government’s statement the High Court asked, “How did fireworks happen without permission? Why did Police allow the fireworks then, why didn’t they stop the fireworks?”

The Kerala HC has also asked for separate affidavit on the incident from both the police and the state administration, calling for strict action against those involved for dereliction of duty.

 

The Kerala government on Tuesday called an All-Party Meeting on April 14 to discuss whether or not to ban fireworks display during festivities in places of worship in the backdrop of the Kollam temple tragedy which has claimed 109 lives and left over 350 injured.

Talking reporters here after a meeting with senior officials and doctors attending to the injured, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also announced earmarking of Rs 20 crore for relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the April 10 fireworks tragedy at the century-old Puttingal Devi temple at Paravoor, about 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

Rs 10 crore had already been put at the disposal of the Kollam District Collector for immediate action, he said.

The government will formulate a policy on fireworks after reaching a consensus at the All-Party Meeting on Thursday, he said after chairing the meeting this morning during which
facilities being provided to the injured undergoing treatment at various hospitals were discussed.

Chandy’s announcement came amid growing calls for banning fireworks displays in the backdrop of Kollam accident.

The accident occurred during an ‘unauthorised’ display of fireworks in the wee hours of Sunday after a spark from a firecracker fell on the storehouse containing crackers,
triggering explosions.

Meanwhile, BJP state President Kummanam Rajasekaran opposed any complete ban on the fireworks display in temples.

It should be allowed with sufficient safety measures, he told reporters, adding certain groups were trying to make ‘political gain’ by raising the demand for banning fireworks display.

State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, who addressed media in Alappuzha, said as the state was heading for polls, the government cannot take a unilateral decision.

After discussions, the government would move forward in this regard, he said.

He made it clear that strict instructions have been given to police to carry out raids on illegal cracker manufacturing units.