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Pope Francis offers prayers for victims of Indian temple fire

Indian policemen guard the Puttingal temple complex (AP)

Pope Francis has offered prayers for the victims of a deadly fire at a Hindu temple in Kerala, India, and their families.

The explosion, sparked by fireworks, killed at least 100 people and injured at least 200 more after thousands gathered at the Puttingal temple in the coastal town of Paravur on Saturday to celebrate a new year festival. A building at the temple also collapsed

Via a telegram sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, the Pope asked God to bless the entire nation of India and said he was “praying for all affected by this tragedy.”

“His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the tragic fire at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravur, and he sends condolences to the relatives of the deceased and injured,” the telegram said.

“Praying for all affected by this tragedy, and for the relief efforts underway, Pope Francis invokes upon the nation the divine blessings of strength and peace.”