Kerala Temple fire: five persons arrested, death toll rises to 108

Five persons have been held in connection with the fire tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple complex even as the toll has risen to 108 with two more persons succumbing to injuries in hospitals on Monday morning.

One person died at KIMS hospital at Thiruvananthapuram and another at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital, a statement from the Chief Minister’s office said.

Police said five workers associated with the contractor of the fireworks display have been taken into custody.

The contract for the fireworks had been taken by two groups led by Surendran and Krishnan Kutty, they said.

Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch, Ananathakrishnan would again visit the spot this morning to take stock of the situation, an official release said.

Government medical teams would visit all hospitals where the 383 injured have been admitted to assess the situation, it said.

The devastating fire had engulfed the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi Temple complex at nearby Paravur during an unauthorised display of fireworks early yesterday morning.

The Kerala government had ordered a judicial probe and by a retired High Court Judge as also a probe by the Crime Branch.

Police sources said a case has been registered against temple authorities and explosive licensees under section 307 (Attempt to murder), and 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) of IPC and under section 4 of Explosives Substances Act.

Meanwhile, police have seized a small quantity of unexploded fireworks materials from the fire site.

Raids have been conducted at various places in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, police said.

People are still flocking the site in search of their near and dear ones.

A man who reached the temple precincts on Monday morning said he had come to watch the festivities along with four of his friends, two of whom are missing.

“I went to all hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram where the injured are being treated. They are not there”, the man, who also suffered some minor injuries, said.

“There are some unidentified bodies in a badly mutilated state, for which DNA tests will have to be done to ascertain their identity. I hope my friends are not among them,” he said.

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