Kerala temple fire forces Karaga to cancel fireworks

Kerala temple fire forces Karaga to cancel fireworks

Kerala temple fire forces Karaga to cancel fireworks

There will be no firework display during Bengaluru Karaga which starts on Thursday, the festival’s organising committee decided on Monday in the wake of the Kollam fire tragedy.

The 11-day annual fair usually involves bursting of firecrackers, especially on the day of Deepotsava that falls on April 19 this year. This time, no fireworks will be allowed, except lighting up of lamps.

Former mayor and honorary president of the committee, P R Ramesh, said: “Karaga, which has been celebrated for more than 300 years now, is a festival of rituals and traditions, but it is not mandatory to burst firecrackers. After the fire incident in Kollam (Kerala) that claimed more than 100 lives, there is fear among citizens. To avoid any accident, we have decided to ban firecrackers.” But the ban would be lifted or implemented next year “depending on the circumstances”, he added.

Cultural programmes and related activities will replace the fireworks this time. The committee said it had requested the Kannada and Culture Department to organise the activities. There will be flag-hoisting on Thursday, Deepotsava in April 19 and main Karaga on April 22. Ramesh said the festival venue, Sri Dharmarayaswamy temple in Thigalarapet, was not spacious enough for fireworks. “We can consider holding fireworks display at Sri Kanteerava Stadium or any spacious place if strict procedures are followed,” he said.

Committee member, Chalakari Narayanaswamy, said lakhs of rupees could be saved if fireworks were banned.

The committee has requested the police to deploy adequate number of personnel during the festival. Last year, around 800 police personnel were deployed last. This time, the committee has requisitioned at least 1,000 personnel, a source said. Surveillance cameras are expected to be installed in and around the temple.

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