Kochi/Kollam: High-decibel fireworks in the night was today banned in places of worship across Kerala even as 13 persons, including seven members of the Puttingal temple managing committee, were arrested in connection with the tragedy on Sunday that killed 113 people.
Treating a letter from one of its judges as PIL, the Kerala High Court directed a ban on the use of sound- generating fireworks between sunset and sunrise in places of worship, an order that came on a day the state government called an all-party meet on Thursday to discuss whether to impose a ban or not.
The court asked the state government to examine whether a CBI probe is necessary to go into the Paravoor temple tragedy.
It also expressed anguish over police incorporating lighter provisions of law with regard to offences against the accused and asked why the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was not applied against them.
The court, however, said that during day time, the sound of explosives cannot exceed the permitted limit. Colours and light performance without making sound may be permitted at festivals at night.
As a word of caution, the High Court asked whether there was involvement of anti nationals in the Sunday tragedy as the area is surrounded by high seas.
With police hot on their heels, the temple trust President Jayalal, Secretary, J Krishnankutty and members Shivaprasad, Surendran Pillai, Ravindran Pillai surrendered before the Crime Branch police in the wee-hours today.
Two other managing committee Surendranathan Pillai and Murugesan were picked up by police here this morning.
Today’s arrests included six workers associated with the two fireworks contractors in connection with the mishap.
When asked about the progress in the investigation, Ananthakrishnan, ADGP (Crime Branch) said the probe is on. The temple committee took permission for a single fireworks display but later made it a competitive display that led to the disaster, he said.
With one more person succumbing to injuries tonight, the toll temple tragedy has gone up to 113. The latest victim was 40-year-old Manikandan from Kollam who died at the Trivandrum Medical College Hospital, hospital sources said.
Earlier, 14-year-old Sabari, said to be the youngest victim of the Puttingal Devi temple tragedy, Satyan (55), from nearby Kazhakootam and Surendran (67), one of the fireworks contractors, had succumbed to injuries at the same hospital.