The incident happened when thousands of people had gathered at the temple to witness the fireworks exhibition for which the temple Devaswom Board was not granted permission by the police.
According to police, the mishap occurred after sparks fell on the storeroom ‘Kambapura’ and exploded with a deafening noise at around 3.30 AM.
Soon the fire engulfed the temple packed with 10,000 to 15,000 people attending the annual festival. Many people were also injured in the collapse of the Devaswom building.
Police and rescue team personnel rushed to the spot and evacuated people trapped in the debris of the collapsed buildings. According to police, only a few bodies could be identified as they were charred beyond recognition.
The injured have been rushed to various hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has assured that the government would extend treatment facilities to the injured persons in the hospitals preferred by their relatives.
According to sources, a probe has been ordered into the matter and a case has been registered against temple authorities and explosive licencees under section 307 (Attempt to murder), and 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) of IPC and under section 4 of Explosives Substances Act.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep anguish and shock over the disaster.
He also announced Rs. two lakh each as compensation for the next of the kin of the dead in the mishap and Rs. 50,000 each for the injured in the tragedy.
Modi will also visit the temple town for taking stock of the situation and meet the injured.
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