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Meerut fire: Judicial inquiry ordered
Sagar Kulkarni in Meerut | April 11, 2006 14:05 IST
Last Updated: April 11, 2006 20:29 IST
A judicial inquiry was Tuesday ordered into the fire disaster in Meerut as tempers ran high over the way the disaster was handled with residents and political workers heckling Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav during his visit to the site.
Huge steel frames, charred laptops and washing machines, clothes and shoes were the grim reminders of the tragedy that had struck the consumer goods trade fair at Victoria Park Monday.
Officially, the death toll was put at 35, including 16 women and a child, by Deputy Inspector General R K Vishwakarma who had said Monday's figure of 50 dead was an initial rough estimate.
Seven people are still missing, he added. Of the 136 injured, 71 were in serious condition in hospitals in Meerut, Ghaziabad, Noida and Delhi.
In Lucknow, Principal Secretary (Home) S K Agarwal said a sitting judge of Allahabad high court would probe the disaster.
Director General of Police Bua Singh said a case of unintentional murder has been registered against three officials of the company, which had organised the fair.
They are Lakhan Tomar, Siddharth Kochar and Amit Gupta and efforts were on to trace them.
Anxious relatives ran from one hospital to another looking for missing relatives as 21 bodies were identified and handed over to their kin for last rites.
Residents claimed the toll was much higher and the administration was not giving the correct figure.
Of the 22 injured people admitted to Safdarjung hospital in Delhi, three succumbed to burn injuries.
A steady stream of poltical leaders starting from Bahujan Samaj Paerty chief Mayawati, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Pawan, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh visited the site of the tragedy and hospitals where the injured were being treated.
But the chief minsiter faced an angry crowd of mostly Bharatiya Janata Party workers led by two city legislators.
Yadav was virtually forced to cut short his visit in view of the jostling and fisticuffs that broke out between rival party supporters.
The authorities filed a first information report against Mrinal Events and Expositions, the organisers of the consumer goods fair for causing deaths allegedly due to negligence and damage to property.