Kurup is a local strongman, a former MP and a close confidante of late former CM K Karunakaran.

 Kollam fire Are these the two politicians who exerted pressure for the fireworks to be permitted
news Kollam fire Monday, April 11, 2016 - 19:51

As the dust settles in Puttingal temple where more than 100 people have died due to a massive fire, there is speculation that only political pressure could have allowed the firecracker display to go on without requisite permissions.

The News Minute had reported that Kollam Additional District Magistrate (ADM) had denied permission to the temple for the annual competitive fireworks fearing potential hazards.

This raised speculation that politicians, with an eye on the upcoming elections engineered the ‘verbal’ permission. Two politicians, who are suspected to have arranged for the last-minute “permission” are Kerala Labour Minister Shibu Baby and former Kollam MP Peethambara Kurup who is also the chairman of Guruvayoor Devaswam Board.

The Indian Express had reported on Monday that there was an attempt to pressurize both the ADM and the District Collector to permit the competitive fireworks display by Kerala minister Shibu Baby. The duo were also accused of having communal motives in denying the permission. Both officers happen to be Muslims.

Peethambara Kurup

Kurup is a local strongman, a former MP and a close confidante of late former CM K Karunakaran. On Monday a regional news channel Kairali website released a video which purportedly reveals how the former MP was responsible for organizing the event.  In the video, the temple authorities are heard thanking Kurup for the event.

"The Puttingal Devaswom Board are grateful to Guruvayoor Devaswom Board Chairman and former Kollam MP Shri Peethambara Kurup for making the firework celebrations happen," was heard on the mike.

This announcement was made before the accident.  

The News Minute could not reach Kurup for a comment despite multiple attempts. He was not at home when this reporter attempted to contact him at his house.

However, Block Panchayat President Sajeev rubbished the allegations. He told TNM, “The temple authorities thanked Kurup for an elephant that he helped organize foe the festivities and not for any kind of political interference.”

Shibu Baby

Labour Minister Shibu Baby has denied that he exerted pressure. He told The News Minute that the ‘’law will take its own course” and ensure that justice is done.

Earlier in the day, The Indian Express quoted him saying, "I did ask her (ADM) to explain the situation and left it at that."

Referring to the IE report, state labour minister Shibu Baby John reiterated that he had in no way put any kind of pressure on the district collector: "I did ask her to explain the situation and left it at that."

When asked whether in the aftermath of the tragedy he feels that he should have ensured that the district authorities had implemented the ban on ground, he said: " That's easier said than done. As long as mob psychology persists, it's going to be difficult."



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