Live: 5 detained for Kollam temple fire tragedy in Kerala, death toll climbs to 112

Apr, 11 2016 IST

  • 14:14 (IST)

    "We have drawn some samples which will be sent for testing. We will be able to say what type of chemicals were used only after testing," Chief Controller Explosives Sudarshan Kamal said.

  • 12:56 (IST)

    Yechury meets injured

    Sitharam Yechury met the injured and the families of the deceased and said that the state government should provide employment to the injured and the kin of the deceased.

    "Monetary compensation is not enough. The state government should announce employment for the kin of victims so that they have some future," Yechury told reporters after meeting the victims.

    "The guilty should be punished," he added. "The Prime Minister was here. I chose not to come here yesterday because the priority of the administration should be to provide relief. When that was over, I decided to come here," he said.

    Yechury also said that this disaster "definitely merits to be considered a national calamity."

  • 12:36 (IST)

    'It is correct that we denied permission for fireworks display'

  • 12:35 (IST)

    Seven-member team inspects Kollam fire tragedy site

    According to ANI, a seven-member team led by Chief Controller Explosives Sudarshan Kamal inspected the tragedy site.

  • 12:28 (IST)

    Families struggle to find their loved ones

    After scouring six hospitals and three morgues, NP Anoop is no closer to finding his father who was caught in a massive blast and fire at an Indian temple that claimed more than 100 lives.

    Like thousands of others, his father had gone on Saturday night to the Hindu temple in southern Kerala state, renowned for its beaches and tranquil backwaters, to see the annual fireworks display.

    But in the chaotic hours after the explosion that ripped through the Puttingal Devi complex, the increasingly desperate 32-year-old could find no trace of his father, Vishwanathan, and feared the worst. 

    "I don't know if he is alive or dead. All I want is to see him, we are ready for the worst but this search is painful," he told AFP after questioning ICU staff at a medical college hospital in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

    "My father had gone to the festival with his friend. We were able to find the body of his friend but have yet to get any information on my father," the weary-looking Anoop said, before heading off to yet another hospital.

    At hospitals, morgues and police stations, families are involved in a heartwrenching search for loved ones feared swept up in the blast that tore apart concrete buildings.

    But the task is being made more difficult by the fact that some of the more than 100 people killed are unrecognisable. - AFP

  • 10:50 (IST)

    Detained organisers questioned by police

    TV news reports said that the five organisers who had been detained by the police are now being questioned by them.

    A case has been registered against 30 people, including the Puttingal temple board members, according to NDTV.

  • 10:32 (IST)

    Fire and rescue teams inspect tragedy site

    ANI reports that fire and rescue teams are now inspecting the site of the tragedy which killed 112 people.

  • 09:47 (IST)

    Officials who had opposed the Kollam fireworks display were bullied

    According to this report in Indian Express, Additional District Magistrate A Shanavas and District Collector A Shainamol, who were two of the officials who had denied permission for the fireworks display, were bullied and threatened by local politicians and Hindu groups.

    What is worse is that communal slurs were used against the two officials, who are Muslims.

    “Once the order was issued, it was vetted by Collector Shainamol, so the pressure started mounting on her. A senior minister called her to demand a change in her stand and asked whether she really wanted to upset religious sentiments of a section to which she does not belong. Local Hindu groups also used it against the ruling party, and eventually, police and politicians decided to make the fireworks happen despite a ban,” the report quoted an officer as saying.

  • 09:26 (IST)

    Death toll climbs to 112

    According to The Times of India, the death toll has now risen to 112. The report further said that nearly 400 other people had been injured.

  • 09:18 (IST)

    Police inspecting tragedy site

  • 08:58 (IST)

    Puttingal Devi temple fire tragedy was the worst such tragedy in Kerala in the last 50 years

    The Puttingal Devi temple fire mishap is one of the worst such tragedies witnessed by Kerala, where display of fireworks are an integral part of religious and cultural festivals.

    Though cracker blasts, especially during religious festivals, are not new in the state, Sunday's tragedy is the worst in over last 50 years of the state's history.

    The cracker blast at the premises of Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple in 1952 had claimed at least 68 lives.

    As many as 20 people had been killed in another cracker blast during a church festival in Thrissur district in 1984 and 26 people had died during a blast in the storehouse of crackers at a temple in Malanada in Kollam in 1990.

    A cracker, which accidentally fell on spectators, claimed six lives in Thrissur in 1978.

    Seven people had been killed during another explosion at the storehouse where firecrackers had been kept for the famous Thrissur Pooram festival in 2006. - PTI

  • 08:44 (IST)

    Five temple organisers detained

    According to CNN-IBN, five organisers of the fireworks display competition at the temple were detained by the police.

    (Updates begin for 11 April)

  • 19:03 (IST)

    PM Modi addressed the media

    After having reached the Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) Medical college with his team of doctors and taking stock of the situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the media. He said " I am very sadden by the incident. My sympathies are with the families of the deceased, my prayers with the injured" 

    He further added " The Indian government is with Kerala and the families in such times and will assist anyone who wants to be shifted to Mumbai or Delhi for any kind of treatment." 

    Speaking about the impact of the explosion, he said that people as far as 200 meters from the site were injured.

  • 18:18 (IST)

    One booked for storing fire crackers 10 times more than permitted limit 

    According to PTI, Attingal police said they have registered a case against the licensee, Surendran, who had stored about 150 kgs o crackers and fireworks material at the storehouse without valid permission.

    Surendran had license to store only about 15 kg, police said "It is a clear violation of license. So far no arrest have been made," police told PTI - PTI

  • 17:35 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi arrives in Kollam to take stock of the situation 

  • 17:31 (IST)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived at Kollam Hospital with a team of doctors. According to CNN IBN, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennitala said that the responsibility for the accident cannot be pinned on anybody without a juducial probe.  

  • 17:03 (IST)

    PM Modi reaches the Puttingal temple tragedy site 

  • 16:44 (IST)

    PM Modi reaches the Puttingal temple tragedy site 

  • 16:03 (IST)

    Kerala government announces Rs. 10 lakh compensation for families of dead 

    According to an IANS report the Kerala government on Sunday ordered a judicial probe into a temple fire tragedy here and announced Rs.10 lakh compensation to families of each of the dead. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced after a special cabinet meeting here that the Crime Branch of Kerala Police would also investigate the disaster at the Puttingal Devi temple in Peravur town. 

    He announced a compensation of Rs.10 lakh each to the families of the dead, Rs.2 lakh to those seriously injured and Rs.50,000 to those who have suffered minor injuries.The state government will bear the expenses of medical treatment of the injured, he said.

    Chandy was asked if there should a ban on festivities associated with religious institutions, to which he said " Many see these events emotionally as it is part of their culture and traditions. I don't think a ban is a practical way out. Instead, the best way is to bring about very strict guidelines and control events like this to see that safety is not compromised."

    Meanwhile, police took into custody five staff members of the contractor Surendran and his son Umesh who were responsible for the fireworks display.
    Surendran and Umesh are both admitted in the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital. Surendran is in serious condition while Umesh has suffered 50 percent burns - IANS

  • 15:54 (IST)

    After his arrival in Kollam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on his way to Kollam Medical College, where injured persons have been admitted. Reports also say that he may visit the site of the tragedy later in the day. While most of the rubble has been moved out, a lot of wreckage is still remaining at the site; police officials and forensic experts are still present at the site as well. 

  • 15:47 (IST)

    Probe ordered by CM Chandy 

  • 15:39 (IST)

    PM Modi arrives in Kollam 

  • 15:26 (IST)

    Here is a translation of the order that explicitly prohibited the use of fireworks at the temple festival

    Order

    In view of the situations mentioned above, based on the records available, and after considering the application from Paravaur Puttingal Devaswom Managing Committee (received on 9 April, 2016)  to conduct/perform fireworks at temple premises and based on the subsequent investigation reports on the same, we are convinced that it was not fireworks that were planned in the temple but aggressive competition and hence, hereby, issue order rejecting the application.  If this order is violated, due legal actions will be taken against the violators in accordance with the 2008 explosive Substances Act.
     
    Additional District Magistrate 
     
    Recipient
     
    J Krishnankuttippilla
    Secretary, Paravaur Platingal Devaswam Managing Committee 
    Paravaur  

  • 15:09 (IST)

    Will get report of judicial probe in 6 months: Chandy

    Kerala CM Oommen Chandy said that the report for the judicial probe into the Kollak tragedy will be submitted in 6 months.

  • 15:07 (IST)

    Chandy on Modi's visit

  • 15:01 (IST)

    Contradictory claims emerge on the issue of permission granted for fireworks display

    Conflicting versions are emerging on permission being granted for conduct of fireworks display at the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi temple complex.

    While the office of Kollam District collector A Shainamol's office told PTI that no permission was granted to conduct the fireworks display, local people claimed the ban was lifted later in the night.

    They claimed a ban had been imposed on a complaint by one Pankajakshi, a resident near the temple complex against holding fireworks display.

    Pankajakshi alleged that temple authorities had threatened her after the complaint was filed.

    Local people in the area told PTI that late at night, the ban was lifted following a 'mutual agreement'.

    However, Kollam City Police commissioner P Prakash, said police did not given permission for the display of fireworks.

    "The locals said they had received oral permission. The temple authority did not have the permission and we did not give them any permission," he said. - PTI

  • 14:55 (IST)

    PM departs for Kollam

  • 14:52 (IST)

    Puttingal temple top officials have gone missing

    Top officials of the Puttingal Devi temple in Kerala have reportedly gone missing after the tragedy, police sources said, reported IANS.

    A case has also been registered against the father-son duo of Surendran and Umesh who had organised the fireworks display. Both are being treated at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.

  • 14:50 (IST)

    Modi in Thiruvananthapuram

  • 14:47 (IST)

    PM Modi arrives in Thiruvananthapuram

  • 14:46 (IST)

    Ship carrying medical team arrives in Kollam

  • 14:44 (IST)

    Kerala govt orders crime branch probe into Kollam tragedy

    As the Kerala cabinet meeting ended, CM Oomen Chandy addressed reporters and said that the government has ordered a crime branch probe into the Kollam tragedy. "We will get into all aspects of the case," he said.

    He also said that a blanket ban on such fireworks display and festivals was not possible. "A blanket ban on such fireworks or such festivals is not possible. Stringent guidelines must be brought in and we must ensure that these stringent guidelines are followed," said the CM.

    The Kerala government has announced Rs 10 lakh will be given to the families of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh will be given to the seriously injured and Rs 50000 will be given to those with minor injuries, reported CNN-IBN.

  • 14:33 (IST)

    Death toll rises to 110

    According to Xinhua, the death toll in this tragedy has now climbed to 110.

  • 14:26 (IST)

    Tremors caused by the explosion were felt even a kilometre away

    At around 3.30 am, there was a massive explosion followed by tremors which were felt even a kilometre away from the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi temple near Kollam as a massive fire tragedy struck there.

    This was the account of Girija who said such an incident had never occurred earlier.

    Giving an account of her experience, Girija, whose house is situated about a kilometre away from the temple, said she felt tremors soon after a massive explosion.

    Lalu, a television journalist who was watching the fireworks from the terrace of a nearby building, said the mishap occurred towards the end of the festivities.

    "I saw a huge fireball and then a thundering sound. Electricity in the area went off and I heard people screaming. It was a very chilling experience," he said.

    Lalu said he immediately rushed to the spot and found about 10-15 people dead.

    The concrete building in which crackers and pyrotechnic materials were stocked was completely destroyed in the explosion which was so massive that cement slabs were found even 10 metres away from the accident spot, said 63-year-old Vijayan, an eyewitness. - PTI

  • 14:23 (IST)

    Emergency Kerala cabinet meet begins

    According to reports, the Kerala cabinet meeting on the Puttingal temple fire tragedy has begun.

  • 14:07 (IST)

    Kerala cabinet meet begins

    According to reports, the Kerala cabinet meeting on the Puttingal temple fire tragedy has begun.

  • 13:58 (IST)

    Extremely pained over the loss of lives: Rajnath

  • 13:54 (IST)

    Visuals of INS Kabra and INS Kalpeni carrying medical supplies

  • 13:47 (IST)

    Very sad to hear such tragic news: Kejriwal

  • 13:45 (IST)

    Reactions from celebrities, sports players pouring in

  • 13:39 (IST)

    Our sympathies are with the bereaved families: Pakistan on the tragedy

    Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement said that Pakistan "expresses its deep condolences on loss of precious lives, resulting from fire breakout in temple in South Kerala", according to ANI.

    "Our sympathies are with the bereaved families. We wish early recovery to all injured people," said the Pakistan MoFA statement.

  • 13:30 (IST)

    Karnataka govt to provide support

    Karnataka government said it would send a 10-member medical team with drugs and blood to Kollam in Kerala to provide relief to victims of the tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple complex.

    "As an immediate relief measure, on the directions from the Chief Minister, we have decided to send in a medical team, medicines and blood to Kerala," Health Minister UT Khader told reporters.

    He said state government officials are in touch with Kerala and the Central government and that the government would be sending additional help, based on the requirements.

    The team will comprise doctors and paramedical staff.

    Khader said, "We are ready to send more specialist doctors and counsellors after getting to know about the ground situation from the Kerala officials." - PTI

  • 13:24 (IST)

    Spoke to Kerala CM, Centre providing all help: Rajnath

    "It is a very tragic incident. I talked to the Kerala CM Oommen Chandy. I assured him that whatever is required is being done by the central government," said Home Minister Rajnath Singh. "He told us that two helicopters were needed. NDRF teams have also been placed on alert. PM decided to visit the place to take stock of the situation."

    "I offer condolences to the victims. I hope that those injured recover fast," said the Home Minister.

  • 13:16 (IST)

    Post-mortem will be carried out: Chandy

    Oommen Chandy also said that post-mortem will be carried out expeditiously so that the bodies are handed over to their kin at the earliest.

    Asked whether any action will be taken against temple authorities for conducting the display of fireworks since the authorities had denied permission for it, the Chief Minister said a decision regarding this will be taken at a Cabinet meeting to be held shortly. - PTI

  • 13:11 (IST)

    Deeply shaken by Kollam tragedy: Tejashwi Yadav

  • 13:06 (IST)

    Fireworks must be controlled: Shekhar Kapur

  • 13:05 (IST)

    Instructed the Chief Controller of Explosives (PESO) to rush to Kollam: Nirmala Sitharaman

  • 12:54 (IST)

    Coast Guard team on its way to Kollam to donate blood

    An additional team of the Indian Coast Guard is now on its way to Kollam to donate blood, reported ANI.

  • 12:53 (IST)

    We are giving best medical treatment: Kerala CM

    "Sufficient medical facilities are here. We are giving best medical care to all persons," said Kerala CM Oommen Chandy. "Central government has already offered all types of assistance," he added.

    "Police, fire brigade and the people did a commendable job in the relief and rescue efforts," he said.

  • 12:50 (IST)

    Kerala CM at tragedy site

Over 80 people were killed and several others injured when an explosion took place at the Puttingal Devi temple during a festival at Paravoor in Kollam at around 3 am on Sunday, police said.

As the temple festival was on, fireworks display had commenced at the temple precincts since midnight and hundreds of people had gathered to watch the show.

Many people were killed after an explosion took place at the Puttingal temple in Kollam, Kerala. AP

Many people were killed after an explosion took place at the Puttingal temple in Kollam, Kerala. AP

As the fireworks and pyrotechnics display was coming to a close at 3 am, an explosion is suspected to have occurred at the storeroom 'Kambapuram' filled with crackers and pyrotechnics materials, police said.

Men, women and police officials are among the dead, they said.

Fifty of the injured have been rushed to Trivandrum Medical College in the state capital and five persons died after being brought there.

Nearly 200 people got injured in the mishap and have been admitted to various hospitals in the district and nearby Thiruvananthapuram, police said.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy termed as "unprecedented" and "alarming" the situation at the Puttingal Devi temple.

Chandy, who cancelled all his scheduled poll programmes, is on his way to the accident site.

"Rescue operation at the mishap spot is over...The next main focus of the government is to provide best treatment to the injured," he told PTI.

Asked about the death toll, the Chief Minister said the number would go up as reports are pouring in from different hospitals, where the injured have been admitted.

"This is an unprecedented and alarming situation," Chandy said.

The government would extend treatment facilities to the injured persons in the hospitals preferred by their relatives, he said.

The State Chief Secretary has been asked to write a letter to the Election Commission for necessary sanction to exclude the treatment facilities to the injured from the ambit of the Election Code of Conduct, he said.

State Health Minister VS Sivakumar said directives have been issued to hospital authorities to make necessary arrangements for the injured.

State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said Director General of Police (DGP) Senkumar is monitoring the rescue operations.

"A comprehensive probe will be conducted into the incident. Adequate compensation would be given to the victims of the accident after consulting with the Election Commission," Chennithala said.

Local media reports quoting Kollam district authorities say the temple authorities ignored warnings issued against holding a huge firework in the area vulnerable to such accident.

District Collector Shinamol, who visited the spot, said evacuation and rescue operations were going on full-swing. People trapped in the concrete structure, which was completely destroyed in the mishap, were taken out, police said.

Eye witnesses told television channels that the accident took place at 3.30 am.

The sound of the explosion in the store-room was heard in around two-km radius of the temple, they said.

(With inputs from PTI)


Published Date: Apr 11, 2016 10:25 am | Updated Date: Apr 11, 2016 10:27 am