Kollam collector blames police for Kerala temple inferno

The police could have prevented it if they abided by it.

New Delhi: Lashing out at police commissioner P. Prakash, district Collector A. Shaina-mol on Monday said the mishap at the Puttingal temple, which claimed 109 lives on Sunday, was due to the negligence of the police and that it was the duty of the police to implement the order, but has failed to do so.

“It is childish that the police commissioner has said that the temple authorities had misled the police. In case of a magisterial order, it is not the duty of the judge to go and implement it, but the duty of the police officers concerned to assure that the order is done,” she said.

Mr Prakash had earlier claimed that the temple authorities misled him by saying that they had received an oral permission to conduct the event. The district magistrate had ordered not to give permission to conduct competitive fireworks at the temple. The police could have prevented it if they abided by it.

The district administration denied permission based on a report filed by the tahsildar that the event would cause danger to human life, Ms Shainamol said.
The report submitted by the police chief on April 6 had pointed out that the place chosen for conducting fireworks was limited.

The report also recommended to deny permission for the event and based on this an order was issued denying permission for the event. The police gave another report two days later stating that permission could be given for fireworks at the temple.

However, the district administration moved forward with its decision to ban the event after it failed to understand how the situation changed within two days of time, the collector said. The district collector has asked for an explanation from the police on how a new report, correcting the old one, was given.

In New Delhi, the National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Kerala Chief Secretary and top officials of Kollam district seeking their reports in four weeks.

The Commission, observed that the life of hundreds of people was at risk by such an event organised by the temple authorities who decided to hold fireworks despite having been denied permission.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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