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Kerala HC bans fireworks at night in places of worship

After Kollam temple fire tragedy, that left 110 people dead, Kerala High Court on Tuesday banned sound-making fireworks display in all places of worship in the state at night.

Kerala HC bans fireworks-AV

The temple tragedy occurred when sparks from fireworks fell on a store room where even more firecrackers were kept. No permission had been given to hold the display.

The High Court also sought the state government’s opinion on whether the CBI should investigate the Kollam temple tragedy.

During the hearing, the Kerala High Court was today informed by the state government that the guidelines were violated and no safety precautions were taken at the Puttingal temple.

A senior Kerala High Court Judge has suggested the ban of high decibel fire crackers in all temples in the state and sought immediate judicial intervention by the court to stop “man-made” tragedies like Kollam mishap.

In a letter to Registrar General of the HC, Justice V. Chitambaresh had said, “The time is more than ripe for immediate judicial intervention to stop such man-made tragedies by banning the use of high decibel explosive fire crackers.”

The ‘Devaswom Bench’ comprising Justices Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Anu Sivaraman will considered the petition. Justice Chitambaresh said, “The right to profess, practice and propagate the religion of one’s choice under Article 25 of the Constitution of India does not take in the freedom to use dangerous crackers.”

“Pyrotechnics display using ‘Amittu’, ‘Gundu’, ‘Kathinavedi’ etc have to be banned and at best only low decibel Chinese-type crackers can be permitted for display,” he said.

The court said that police failed to provide basic safety to devotees who had gathered at the Kollam temple late on Saturday night; this amounts to a violation of human rights, the judges said.

They questioned how the police ignored the huge stash of fireworks that was accumulated at the temple in Kollam for a lavish display to coincide with an annual festival on Saturday night.

Dead man woke up

Pramod, who was employed with the contractor who organised the banned fireworks display at the Puttingal temple in Paravur, was among the unconscious recuperating at a hospital in Attingal, about 25 kms away. He regained consciousness on Monday night and managed to contact his family on Tuesday.

His family however mistakenly identified another corpse as his given that many of the bodies recovered from the accident site were covered in black ash.

Authorities are now uncertain of the identity of the body cremated by the family.

For their part, the family cannot believe Pramod is alive. And neither can Pramod.

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