India

Puttingal temple fire: Seven officials detained by police

People check out the damaged structures after a massive fire broke out Sunday during a fireworks display at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravoor village, Kollam district, southern Kerala state, India, Monday, April 11, 2016. Image copyright AP
Image caption Many of those killed were crushed when a building collapsed

Seven more people have been detained for questioning in connection with an explosion and fire at a Hindu temple in Kerala that killed more than 100 people.

The seven men are officials of the temple in Paravur and were among several wanted by police.

Earlier police had detained five others and a judicial inquiry ordered into the incident.

A court in Kerala is due to hear a plea to ban fireworks displays at temples.

Nearly 400 people near the temple were injured when a faulty rocket fell onto a large stockpile of fireworks on Sunday.

A building at the temple then collapsed, causing many of the deaths.

Kerala temple tragedy: 'All over in a few minutes'

The death toll rose to 111 on Tuesday after two of the injured died in hospital.

Seven temple officials, including the president, have surrendered to the police since Monday night, and are now being questioned over their role in the incident.

Officials say the temple had been denied permission on safety grounds, but it had gone ahead under pressure from a large crowd.

Thousands had gathered to watch the display as part of a local new year festival.

Police are also questioning five temple workers involved in staging the fireworks display.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said 351 people were still undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in the blast, and 24 of them were in a critical condition.

Puttingal: India's 'temple of fireworks'

Fireworks and firecrackers are commonly used at temple festivals in Kerala.

Every year temples in the state organise fireworks displays, often competing to stage the most spectacular ones.

Sunday's incident is not the first of its kind in Kerala.

The famous Sabarimala temple banned fireworks in 1952 after 68 people died in a firecracker explosion.

Related Topics

More on this story