04/12/2016, 10.25
INDIA
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Authors of Kerala temple fire arrested

Five officials of the Hindu place of worship have surrendered to the police, while another five are untraceable.They are all are accused of attempted murder for the fire which killed over 100 people. Meanwhile, number of wounded increases. A court must decide today whether to ban all fireworks in temples, but the board that manages 1,255 temples opposes any ban.

Thiruvananthapuram (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Five officials of the Puttingal temple of Paravur in Kollam district, have handed themselves in to the police in Kerala, who arrested them for the fire which killed over 100 people.

The officials had disappeared without a trace and are now charged with attempted murder. Five others are still untraceable. Meanwhile, the number of injured has risen to about 1,000 people, including 380 still hospitalized. Twenty of them are in critical condition.

Those arrested are in addition to five others whom authorities arrested yesterday, accused of having illegally set-off the fireworks. They were all involved in the terrible explosion last April 10, which took place during the celebration of the Hindu New Year, which was attended by about 15 thousand faithful.

The fire broke out at around 3:10 am (local time), during a fireworks competition. Police immediately  laid charges against the temple authorities, who were informed in advance of the dangerousness of the event.

Despite this, they gave permission for the display because fireworks are an integral part of Hindu festivals.

In addition to the warnings, the authorities have violated the district ordinance that prohibited such displays and a Supreme Court authorizing them only before 10 pm. Today a court will have to decide whether to extend the prohibition of fireworks in all Hindu festivals, but already yesterday the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages 1,255 temples in Kerala, came out against a possible ban and said it will continue to allow their use.

The lack of minimum safety standards and superficiality with which they these events are conducted is also highlighted by the fact that yesterday the police, as they inspected the surroundings of the temple, found three cars full of highly flammable material.

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