Many eunuchs belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Kinnara Samaj waited overnight outside the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital here, searching for missing community members, a day after a fire at a congregation in east Delhi left 13 dead and 33 injured. Many were angry at not being allowed to see the bodies.
According to doctors, the bodies were charred beyond recognition in the blaze Sunday which had seen eunuchs from all over the country assemble here.
“We have been waiting outside the hospital since 8 p.m. yesterday (Sunday), looking for members of our group. We requested doctors to allow us to see the bodies so that we can identify our members but they are not allowing us,” a eunuch community member said Monday.
The fire broke out at a community centre in east Delhi Sunday following an electrical short circuit.
Delhi Health Minister A.K. Walia, who visited the injured in hospital Monday, said 13 people have died and 33 are injured. Earlier reports had put the toll at 15.
“Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will visit the hospital to meet the injured and will announce compensation for the dead and injured. An inquiry has already been ordered,” Walia told reporters here.
The Delhi government has asked deputy commissioner (revenue) of east Delhi (J.P. Sharma) to investigate the incident and file his report at the earliest.
“Around 500-700 people of the community were present when the incident took place,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, east, Sanjay Jain.
According to organisers, as many as 2,000 to 2,500 people were present at Nand Nagri's E2 block, where the three-day Akhil Bharatiya Kinnara Samaj Sarvdharma Mahasammelan started Sunday.
The tents erected on the grounds of the community hall were gutted in the fire. As the fire spread, people ran helter-skelter seeking escape to a safe area but many got trapped in the blaze, police said.
The approach road to the community centre was narrow, hampering rescue operations as the big fire tenders could not reach the spot to fight the blaze. However, smaller fire tenders were able to get in to douse the flames.
Fire department officials said the organisers had not taken permission from the department.