Controversies overshadow excitement at Thrissur Pooram as fireworks display held during the day

PTI, Apr 20, 2024, 2:01 PM IST

After a day of splendid festivities and excitement, controversies took the sheen off the iconic Thrissur Pooram due to alleged restrictions imposed by police and their reported interference in the proceedings.

For the first time in the history of the festival, the display of fireworks, one of the major attractions of the event, which was scheduled in the small hours, was held in broad daylight on Saturday, which turned out to be a disappointment to the festival buffs.

Thousands witnessed the high-octane Thrissur Pooram on Friday here in full grandeur on the sprawling grounds of the famed Vadakkunnathan Temple.

The annual spectacle, which is generally billed as the mother of all temple festivals in the state, saw 30 caparisoned elephants standing face-to-face and being a part of the centuries-old customs and traditions.

After the culmination of the Pooram festivities, differences cropped up between officials of Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devaswoms and the police over management of festival crowd.

Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devaswoms are the main organisers of Thrissur Pooram.

Following arguments with the police, the Thiruvambady Devaswom called off the festival proceedings and held the customary rituals in a low-key manner.

The firework display, which was scheduled to begin at 3 am, took place after 7 am.

While the firework display of Paramekkavu Devaswom was held after 7 am, the ”vedikkettu” of Thiruvambady Devaswom, which was initially reluctant for the display, was started later in the day.

People who came from across the state to witness the fireworks on Friday night strongly protested against its postponement.

”We came from Wayanad and Kollam districts only to catch a glimpse of the firework display. The postponement is highly condemnable,” a group of people told the media.

A woman said she and her family waited all night to see the fireworks display, and it was disheartening to know that it was postponed.

The alleged interference of the police in the Pooram festivities and the delayed display of fireworks also triggered sharp political reactions in the state today.

Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha candidate K Muraleedharan criticised the district administration over the developments with regard to Pooram.

”The state government and the district administration were responsible for the police high-handedness. The issues could be resolved in an hour…A staffer of the Thiruvambady Devaswom even suffered injuries in the police lathicharge,” he alleged.

He also targetted the union government on the issue, saying the central laws were imposing several restrictions on the fireworks display.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan also slammed the state government and sought to know why the police were interfering in the festival management.

Thrissur Pooram is a secular festival which is marked by the participation of people cutting across caste and religion, he said.

”The government is trying to communalise it. The high court has intervened and created a mechanism for the management of Thrissur Pooram. Then, why the police is interfering in it illegally?” the LoP asked while talking to reporters in Paravur.

He also accused the CPI (M)-led LDF government of trying to create a favourable situation in the southern state in favour of the BJP using police.

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