Five detained as death toll in India's temple fire rises to 112

Updated: 2016-04-11 15:26


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Five detained as death toll in India's temple fire rises to 112

The site of the Puttingal Devi temple fire is seen in the southern Indian state Kerala, on April 10, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

NEW DELHI -- The Indian police detained five people on Monday in connection with Sunday's temple fire in the southern state of Kerala as the death toll rose to 112 with two more persons succumbing to their injuries overnight.
"A criminal case has been registered against 40 people, including office-bearers of the Puttingal temple board in the state's Kollam district, for going ahead with a fireworks display without any government permission. Five of the accused have been detained," a police official said.
"A manhunt has been launched to nab all those responsible for the fire which broke out during a fireworks display near the temple. Some of the key accused are absconding and police teams have been despatched to various places to arrest them," said the official.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the tragedy rose to 112 on Monday morning, with two more critically injured persons succumbing to their injuries.
The death toll may further go up as many of those 350 injured are battling for their lives at various hospitals across Kerala," the official said.
The fire started around 3 a.m. local time on Sunday during the fireworks display at a ground next to the Puttingal temple.
According to officials, a spark had actually ignited a stack of fireworks, triggering the fire.
"It was a spark from the crackers being burst that fell into the stack of crackers kept on ground, leading to the fire," another official said.
Such was the impact of the fire that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the inferno was "heart-rending and shocking", and went to Kerala to meet the injured in a special Indian Air Force flight, along with a team of 15 specialist doctors from the national capital.
"Fire at the temple in Kollam is heart-rending and shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured," Modi tweeted and announced a compensation of 4,000 US dollars for the families of each of the deceased.