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Probe Maharashtra circus fire: Russia
April 07, 2005 16:35 IST
Russia has asked the Maharashtra government to thoroughly investigate the blaze at a Russian circus in Andheri on Monday, in which 21 animals were charred to death.
The Russian diplomatic mission in Mumbai has demanded that the state government 'protect Russian citizens from mischievous acts', a foreign ministry spokesman said in Moscow.
Letters to the effect have already been sent to the Indian embassy in Moscow, and the Russian embassy in India has sent a note to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.
A major fire broke out in the tent of the Russian State Circus Company Rosgorscirk at the Chitrakoot grounds. Four sea lions, ten Eskimo dogs and seven mixed-breed cats died.
Preliminary reports said the fire was caused by a short circuit, but representatives of the circus suspect it to arson.
Earlier, the Russian Circus was caught in a controversy when an animal welfare group moved the Bombay high court challenging its shows. The petition said rules had been violated. The court ultimately allowed the circus to perform.
The circus officials claimed that their Indian partners had disappeared, taking away customs and veterinary papers.
"They have been untraceable since then," said Jasmin Shah, the caretaker appointed by the organisers.
The company called on the Indian authorities to carry out a thorough probe and punish the guilty, failing which it said it will appeal to the International Organisation for Animal Protection.
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