KUALA LUMPUR: A powerful firecracker set off during the Thaipusam procession last night marred the event when 34 people were injured by the fiery blast near the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniar Hindu temple.
Police arrested two men who are allegedly behind the 8.40pm explosion at a junction of the MRR2 flyover and are looking for a third accomplice.
Three parked vehicles – a Nissan Serena, Proton Exora and a Perodua Myvi were also badly damaged by the explosion.
It is learnt that the trio were among the large crowd of devotees who thronged to the temple for Thaipusam when one of them set off the firecracker he had brought along.
The suspect lit up the firecracker and hurled it into the air.
In a viral video of the incident captured by the public, the firecracker fell on the ground before exploding and injuring those in the vicinity.
Dozens of people were seen scurrying to safety while many others froze in fear.
The victims suffered minor to serious burns from the blast.
Gombak police chief ACP ACP Samsor Maarof said 20 of the 34 injured victims of various races were women.
He said while six people were taken to the Selayang, Kuala Lumpur and Sungai Buloh hospitals, the remaining 28 victims were treated by medical personnel at a temporary health clinic stationed at the temple.
“Police arrested a 23-year-old man who works as a dancer soon after the incident.
“About four hours later another man aged 28 was arrested. A third suspect is still at large and we are looking for him. We learnt that a suspect had lit up the firecracker to enliven the procession. The firecracker was supposed to explode in air but ended up blasting on the ground hurting those around. Preliminary investigations show that there were no bad intentions or malicious motives by the suspect in setting off the firecrackers.” he said.
Samsor also said that police did not issue any permit allowing the fireworks or firecrackers to be lit during the event.
He said a police report was lodged by an owner of one of the damaged vehicles.
He said the case is being investigated for “negligently setting off explosive substances that could endanger human life” under Section 28 of the Penal Code.
Over 1,550 police personnel went on duty during the event.