Friday 30 September 2016

Seven linked to Indian temple surrender as blaze death toll rises to 116

Published 12/04/2016 | 08:01

A man checks the damage caused by a massive fire at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravoor in Kerala state, India, in which 116 people died (AP)
A man checks the damage caused by a massive fire at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravoor in Kerala state, India, in which 116 people died (AP)

Seven people who fled after a weekend fire killed at least 116 people at the southern Indian temple where they are board members have surrendered to police to face prosecution, officials said.

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Police officer Gupakumar said the seven were taken into custody late on Monday after a two-day hunt by police.

Police are investigating temple board members and associates of firework contractors for possible charges of attempted murder and culpable homicide, both punishable by life imprisonment, and illegally storing a cache of explosives.

More than 380 other people were injured in the blaze at the Hindu Puttingal Devi temple complex in the village of Paravoor in Kerala state on Sunday.

M Palanai, another police officer, said 200 casualties are still being treated in various hospitals.

Rescue workers are sifting through the debris for clues about how an unauthorised fireworks display sparked the blaze which swept through the temple as it was packed with thousands for a religious festival.

Police questioned five workers on Monday about fireworks stored at the site, hoping to learn more about who owned the fireworks and who had contracted the pyrotechnical display, police constable R Unnikrishnan Nair said. The five were later released.

Villagers and police had to pull many of the injured out from under slabs of concrete and twisted steel girders.

Press Association

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