Kerala temple tragedy: Five officials Puttingal Trust surrender

Thetragedy occurred at the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi Temple complex during an unauthorised display of fireworks early on Sunday morning. 

Kerala temple tragedy: Five officials Puttingal Trust surrender

Kollam: Five officials of the Puttingal Temple Trust surrendered before the Kerala crime branch early on Tuesday morning.

Those who have surrendered include Puttingal Temple committee president, secretary and treasurer.

The surrender comes hours after a case was registered against six persons, including members of temple managing committee under Section 307 of eh IPC (attempt to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of IPC and under section 4 of Explosives Substances Act.

Besides the members of the temple managing committee, a case was also registered against assistants of contractors who held the 'competitive' pyrotechnic display, despite a ban on it by the district administration.

Meanwhile, tales of horror continued to pour in as the death toll in fireworks display rose to 109 while more than 300 people were being treated for injuries.

Following the tragedy, at least 100 kg of explosive materials have been seized from a storehouse at nearby Attingal; two cars with some raw materials used for crackers were also recovered by police.

Amid conflicting reports on how the fireworks display was held despite the ban, Kollam District Collector A Shainamol claimed she had denied permission for the fireworks display and said there was no pressure on her to grant or deny permission for this.

"We had issued clear directions to police to ensure that the fireworks programme is not held. I just did my job. There was no pressure on me. Granting or denying permission requires certain procedures. We have sought reports from the police and tehsildhar", she said.

Additional District Magistrate of Kollam Shanawaz said that the ban order had been violated and it has to be verified who had violated it.Shanawaz said that the ban order had been violated and it has to be verified who had violated it.

Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages about 1,255 temples in the state, said it was not for a complete ban on such fireworks displays.

TDB President Prayar Gopalakrishnan said the board was against banning pyrotechnics during temple festivals as they were part of rituals, but added they should be staged as per restrictions of government and court orders with sufficient safety measures.

The massive tragedy occurred at the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi Temple complex during an unauthorised display of fireworks early on Sunday morning after a spark from a firecracker fell on the storehouse containing crackers, triggering explosions.

Of the deceased, 14 were yet to be identified as the charred bodies made the task difficult, official sources said.  

With PTI inputs