Two persons were killed and 15 injured when a branch of a banyan tree fell on a procession held as part of the Thrissur Pooram festival held here past midnight, police said on Saturday. The incident occurred around 12.20 am when the Thiruvambady Devaswom's Madathil Varavu Panchavadyam, a religious ceremony related to Thrissur Pooram festival, was passing under it.
A huge branch of the banyan tree fell over the people as the percussion artists were performing under it leading to the death of two persons, police said, adding the injured have been hospitalised. During the melee, an elephant, which was being paraded in the procession, ran amok but the mahouts managed to bring it under control, police said. Following the incident, fireworks that were to be displayed as part of the festival were called off.
Thrissur Pooram is an over 200-year-old one of the most popular temple festivals in Kerala. In 1798, Raja Rama Varma, the ruler of Cochin, issued an edict that led to the beginning of the festivities. It entrusted two local temples — Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady — as the main sponsors of the festival. Like last year, this time too the festival was a low-key affair in view of the Covid-19 curbs.