Cops hunt of­fi­cials in In­dia

Lesotho Times - - International -

NEW DELHI — In­dian po­lice de­tained five peo­ple on Mon­day af­ter a fire­works dis­play at a Hindu tem­ple set off ex­plo­sions and fire killing 108 peo­ple in one of the worst ac­ci­dents at a re­li­gious fes­ti­val.

Thou­sands of peo­ple were gath­ered at the tem­ple at Kol­lam in the south­ern state of Ker­ala on Sun­day for the py­rotech­nic show to mark the start of the Hindu year when sparks ig­nited a cache of fire­works stored in­side the tem­ple grounds.

The district ad­min­is­tra­tion said it had not given per­mis­sion for the fire­works dis­play fol­low­ing com­plaints of noise and pol­lu­tion.

Po­lice of­fi­cer Anan­tha Kr­ish­nan said the five taken into cus­tody were em­ploy­ees of a fire­works man­u­fac­turer who was given the con­tract for run­ning the show at the Put­tin­gal Devi tem­ple.

The head of the man­u­fac­tur­ing unit was in­jured, one of 380 peo­ple who were in hos­pi­tals across the state with burns as well as in­juries caused by fly­ing con­crete and de­bris.

Ker­ala is stud­ded with tem­ples man­aged by rich and pow­er­ful trusts that of­ten flout lo­cal reg­u­la­tions.

Each year tem­ples hold fire­works dis­plays, of­ten com­pet­ing to stage the most spec­tac­u­lar ones, with judges who de­cide the win­ners.

On Mon­day, griev­ing rel­a­tives of the vic­tims were scour­ing the tem­ple grounds for pos­ses­sions of their loved ones among the shoes, hand­bags and other ar­ti­cles strewn in a pile of de­bris and a pud­dle, dark red with blood.

“There were so many men and women lying on the ground, life­less,” said Anish Kumar, a res­i­dent.

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