The Kerala High Court on Friday refused bail to 39 accused in the Kollam temple fire that killed 109 people in April. The court observed that the state had developed an “unhealthy culture and practice” where each religious ceremony had to be “glamourised by fireworks or elephant parade”, The Hindu reported. It also said there were enough laws by which explosives and fireworks at such events could be banned, but “the machinery or the officers functioning under the law do not have the guts, urge and commitment to enforce the laws”.
The court granted bail to two people, who, the bench said, had no part to play in the incident. In April, the court had banned noise-generating fireworks in places of worship in Kerala. However, soon after the massive blaze at the Puttingal Devi Temple, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages all temples in the state, said it was not in favour of a ban on fireworks at religious festivals.