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No arrests so far in Meerut inferno case

Written by: Staff
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Lucknow, Apr 13 (UNI) The Uttar Pradesh government today admitted its failure in making any arrests in the Meerut Trade Fair Fire which has left over 60 dead and scores injured.

Principal Secretary (Home) S K Aggarwal said here the Meerut police has so far failed to nab the three organisers of the fair against whom an FIR was lodged.

The FIR was registered against the organisers Lakhan Pal Tomar, Ashit Gupta and Siddharth Malhotra for negligence and damage to property. The three are part of Mrinal Exhibitions and Expositions Pvt Ltd, a Meerut based firm.

The three air-conditioned pandals had only one exit and lacked any fire fighting equipment. Made of thermocol and plywood to retain the A C clooing, the material of the 100 metre-long pandals proved fatal after the short-circuit caused fire.

While most died in the stampede, others were charred to death.

The bodies of those killed in stampede were also charred in the fire which could only be controlled after two-and-a-half hours.

The state government, meanwhile said the number of deaths have increased to 42 with more of the injured succumbing to burns. But police sources maintained that the actual death toll is ''well above 60.'' About 133 persons were being treated for injuries, including burns.

The UP government, in the meantime, has received the notice of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the Meerut incident.

Taking suo-motu cognizance of news reports, the Commission directed the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to provide details of those killed, injured and missing, case registered and status of investigations besides steps taken by the administration to provide relief, including free medical treatment to the injured.

According to a NHRC spokesman, the state Government has also been asked to explain within two weeks whether all necessary procedures were followed before licence was given for organising the consumer fair.

If true, then reports that nearly 50 people were killed and 110 injured and that proper fire safety clearance was not obtained by the organisers raised ''a serious issue of violation of human rights of the citizens'', the Commission noted.

The NHRC also expressed hope that the victims are given free and proper medical aid at the State's expense.

UNI NAB ARS VD BST2001

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