Washington, D.C. (April 11, 2016) — The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) expressed its deep sadness for the over 100 devotees who died yesterday as a result of the fire in the Puttingal temple in Paravaur, Kerala, India. The fire was allegedly caused due to negligence in handling fireworks. Thousands had gathered in the early morning hours of Sunday to celebrate the Hindu new year. Hundreds remain critically injured, and authorities are still investigating those responsible.

“We offer our condolences to the families of those that have perished, and we pray for those injured to undergo a quick recovery,” said Swaminathan Venkataraman, HAF Director of India Strategic Relations. “We urge a thorough investigation of this tragic situation. All places of worship must incorporate strict safety standards to ensure patrons are not endangered by negligence.”