Kerala temple fire: Five people detained, Crime Branch begins probe; death toll at 107

Kerala CM Oommen Chandy has ordered a judicial probe by a retired High Court Judge along with an investigation by Crime Branch into the tragedy.

Kerala temple fire: Five people detained, Crime Branch begins probe; death toll at 107

Kollam: Five people have been detained in connection with the deadly inferno that engulfed the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi Temple complex in Kerala's Kollam district.

Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) TP Senkumar today told news agency ANI that five people have been detained in connection with the fireworks show.

In one of the worst tragedies to hit Kerala, at least 107 people were killed and over 350 injured when an illegal fireworks show set off massive explosions and caused a huge blaze in a Hindu temple on Sunday.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has ordered a judicial probe by a retired High Court Judge along with an investigation by Crime Branch into the tragedy.

While visiting the mishap site and a hospital to see the injured people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the incident as a "dreadful tragedy".

Dazed survivors said the disaster happened when stacks of explosives stored in a building a little away from the 100-year-old temple exploded, apparently after a spark from a firecracker landed on its roof.

The incident occurred just after 3 am amid a dazzling and deafening fireworks display even after the local authorities had declined permission for it. The celebrations had begun Saturday night.

Chandy also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh to kin of each of those killed in fire tragedy, Rs 2 lakh for seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who termed the incident as "heart-rending" and "shocking", announced Rs two lakh each as compensation for the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 each for the injured. He later flew in here and took stock of the situation and see the injured people.

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