Three days after a fire at the famous Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, police claim that a common ritual to ward off evil may have caused the fire, according to a TOI report.
According to the report, although Madurai collector Veera Raghava Rao had earlier stated that a fault in the electric wiring could have sparked the fire, police think otherwise. After scanning CCTV footage, police believe the ritual of lighting camphor on a pumpkin, which is then smashed to the ground, could have sparked the fire. Police have questioned shopkeeper, who had performed the ritual and left the camphor burning, even after all the shops and temple were closed for the day.
However, Raj Nagulu the president of the temple shop owners’ association told TOI that the shops in the Vasantharaya Mandapam, which were the worst hit in the temple fire, did not perform this ritual. He claimed that there was a delay in dousing the fire by firefighters.
This has been denied by the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue service department southern region deputy director P Saravana, who said that there was truck stationed at the west entrance of the temple.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who visited the temple on Monday, said the damaged portions of the Veera Vasantharayar Mandap would be renovated in six months time. OPS also promised that action would be taken against shops if it were found that the blaze had been caused by them.
At least 30 shops were damaged in the fire that broke out in the complex of the Meenakshi Amman Temple on Friday night. There was no damage to the temple itself. The fire had broken out at 10.40pm near the east gopuram (temple tower) on Friday.