The Madathil Varavu Panachavadyam, conducted by the Thiruvambadi Devaswom was underway below the tree when the branch fell.

A number of caparisoned elephants are lined up with people sitting on top and standing aside for the pooram festival in Thrissur
news Festival Saturday, April 24, 2021 - 09:43

Two people died and over 25 others were injured after the branch of a huge tree fell over a procession at the Thrissur Pooram annual temple festival early on Saturday. The Hindu reported that two of the injured are critical.

The persons who died have been identified as Rameshan Nadathara and Paniyath Radhakrishnan, both Pooram committee members of the Thriruvambadi Devaswom.

A percussion ensemble — Madathil Varavu Panachavadyam — conducted by the Thiruvambadi Devaswom was underway below the tree when the branch fell over the artistes. The sound of the branch falling was missed amid the noise of percussion. There were around 40 people at the time including the police. An elephant ran amok when this happened, and was later brought under control.

Many people were trapped under the fallen branch and some were reportedly electrocuted. They were later rescued by fire personnel and moved to hospital.

The Devasoms of Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu decided to cancel the fireworks following the accident. 

The annual Pooram was conducted following COVID-19 protocol, causing some displeasure among the Devaswoms. The Paramekkavu Devaswom had at first alleged that the state government was trying to sabotage the Pooram with the protocols while activists questioned how the COVID-19 restrictions could be implemented. Finally, it was decided that Pooram would be conducted with the basic rituals and without the participation of the public. Only festival organisers and media personnel who either tested negative for the novel coronavirus or had been administered both doses of COVID-19 vaccine were to be allowed inside.

Thrissur Pooram is the largest temple festival in Kerala, attracting about two million people in normal circumstances. However, many had expressed concern over holding the festival amid the second wave of COVID-19 as Kerala continued to record surges every passing day.

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