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Fireworks explosion claims at least 100 lives in India


A huge fire has killed more than one hundred people gathered for a fireworks display in southern India. Over two hundred others have been injured.

It happened in Kollam in the state of Kerala where worshipers had gathered for the event to mark the start of the Hindu New Year early on Sunday.

State health workers said that local hospitals became overwhelmed with victims, so many of the injured had to be driven to the state capital some seventy kilometers away.

Local television reported a firecracker fell on a shed where other fireworks were stored, setting off an explosion and the fire.

The chief state minister said the temple had been denied permission for the fireworks display and that the government will investigate how they went ahead. Though there is conflicting information that the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi temple complex was granted permission to conduct the fireworks display.

Meanwhile, police took into custody five staff members of the contractor Surendran and his son Umesh who were responsible for the fireworks display.

After his arrival in Kollam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Kollam Medical College, where injured persons have been admitted. Reports also say that he may visit the site of the tragedy later in the day.

While most of the rubble has been moved out, a lot of wreckage still remained at the site; police officials and forensic experts are still present at the site as well.


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