India: Delhi fire kills 14 at eunuchs' gathering

The site of the fire in Delhi on 20 November 2011 The fire was reportedly caused by an electrical short circuit

At least 14 people have been killed and more than 40 others injured in a fire at a gathering of eunuchs in the Indian capital, Delhi.

The fire broke out on Sunday evening when a three-day convention of eunuchs was about to end.

It is thought that a short circuit in the electricity line sparked off the fire which then spread to the makeshift tent under which people had gathered.

Local people helped put out the fire and took the injured to the hospital.

The gathering at Nand Nagri in east Delhi was being attended by hundreds of eunuchs from all over India and neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal, reports said, at a convention held once every five years.

There are hundreds of thousands of eunuchs across South Asia. The term is used to refer to transvestites, transsexuals and people who see themselves as neither male nor female.

Many make a living by dancing at weddings and other ceremonies, but they face significant discrimination and live on the margins of society.

"We were performing evening prayers and many of us were also having food when there was an electrical short circuit in a chandelier. The sparks triggered off a fire and in no time the tents were engulfed by the blaze," Komal, a participant, told The Hindu newspaper.

Fire brigade officials said they pulled out 12 charred bodies from the gutted tents. Two people succumbed to burn injuries later in hospital.

The Delhi government is investigating allegations that the organisers of the gathering had not sought permission from the fire department.

More on This Story

From other news sites

* May require registration or subscription

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Asia stories

RSS

Features

  • The OfficeIn pictures

    Fifty landmark shows from 50 years of BBC Two


  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Worcestershire flagFlying the flag

    Preserving the identities of England's counties


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


  • Two women in  JohanesburgYour pictures

    Readers' photos on the theme of South Africa


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.