On Tuesday Kerala High Court banned only noisy fireworks in all places of worship in state after sunset. The court did not order a complete ban on fireworks despite a growing demand for it. A complete ban was also suggested by one of the High Court judges after 110 people died in Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam district on Sunday during a display of fireworks.
The deadly explosion happened when a storeroom full of crackers caught fire during a display of allegedly unauthorised fireworks. The incident also injured more than 1000 people.
The court slammed the Chandy government and the state police for not being able to provide basic safety to the people, calling it a breakdown of law and order.
Meanwhile the state government has called an all-party meet on April 14 to bring about a consensus on the matter of banning fireworks.
Talking to reporters after a meeting with senior officials and doctors attending to the injured, CM Chandy also announced earmarking of Rs 20 crore for relief and rehabilitation of the victims. Rs 10 crore had already been put at the disposal of the Kollam District Collector for immediate action, he said.
Meanwhile, BJP in the state is opposed to a complete ban on the fireworks display in temples.
Fireworks display should be allowed with sufficient safety measures, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekaran said. He added that certain groups were trying to make ‘political gain’ by raising the demand for banning fireworks display.
State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said that it has been made clear that strict instructions have been given to the police to carry out raids on illegal cracker manufacturing units.
To a question on the controversy over the conduct of the display even after the district administration had banned it, he said the judicial probe and Crime Branch investigation would look into all issues connected with the accident.
“Any person found guilty will be brought before the law. But, now it is not the time for any row. All effort now is to help the people injured in the accident,” Chennithala said.
So far, 13 people including members of the managing commitee of the Puttingal Devi Temple have been arrested in connection with the mishap.
(With inputs from PTI)