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Five killed as fire breaks out at Durga Puja pandal in UP’s Bhadohi, organisers booked

Preliminary reports have indicated that an overheated halogen lamp triggered the fire. As many as 64 people who sustained injuries have been admitted to various hospitals.

Police personnel at the Durga Puja pandal where a fire broke out during a digital show on Sunday night, in Bhadohi (PTI photo)

Three children and two women died and 64 others were injured after a fire broke out in a Durga Puja pandal in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhadohi district Sunday evening, the police said. The incident occurred during the aarti ritual on the seventh day of the Navratri festival. Preliminary reports have indicated that an overheated halogen lamp triggered the fire, officers said.

According to the police, around 150 persons were present inside the pandal in Narthuwa village when the blaze broke out. Most of them were watching a digital show. Firefighters rushed to the spot and rescued the injured.

The deceased have been identified as Ankush Soni, 10, Naveen, 10, Harsh Vardan, 8, Jaya Devi, 45, and Arti, 48, all residents of Bhadohi. The injured, mostly children and women, also hail from Bhadohi and are currently undergoing treatment at various hospitals. Doctors said five of them are in critical condition.

A senior police officer said the puja was organised by the Ekta Club Pooja Samiti which has been conducting it at the same place for over a decade. An FIR has been lodged against Pramod Kumar, the organiser of the Samiti, as well as unidentified members of the Samiti. Bhadohi SP Anil Kumar said Pramod Kumar too suffered burn injuries in the incident and has been admitted to a hospital.

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Taking serious note of the incident, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s office directed district officials to ensure proper treatment for the injured. Among the injured, 42 are under treatment at a hospital in Varanasi and four others in Allahabad. The rest have been admitted to different hospitals in Bhadohi. Varanasi police created a green corridor to ensure hassle-free transportation of the victims.

Meanwhile, the four-member team constituted on Sunday to probe the incident submitted its preliminary report to the Bhadohi district magistrate on Monday. The team includes officials from the district administration and the police. “The inquiry team suspects that the halogen light at the pandal overheated, causing the fire which later spread to other places,” said a senior police official. The SP said the report was based on footage of the incident.

The accused have been charged under various sections of the IPC, including 304A (causing death by negligence), 326 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) at Aurai police station in Bhadohi, said a police officer.

First published on: 03-10-2022 at 12:27:31 pm
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