Five persons of a family, including three women and minor, were burnt alive, just a day after the wedding as a devastating fire caused by a short-circuit reduced the house into ashes at Ner Chowk in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh on Monday.
The incident occurred early in the morning when the entire family and relatives, including newly-wed son and the daughter-in-law (bride), were fast asleep after the wedding ceremonies were completed late night on Sunday.
The victims included the uncle of the bridegroom and a 12-year old child, who apparently could not save their lives as rest of the family and guests managed to come out of the burning house and survived with minor injuries.
The deceased are identified as Narender Soni (66) and Veena Soni (62)– uncle and aunt of the groom, Sudesh (70), Mona (40), daughter-in-law of Narinder’s sister, and her 12-year-old son Sai Sohel.
The tragedy, which shook the entire area turning a marriage ceremony into a gloom, saw relatives and close family members in an inconsolable state as several people from the neighbourhood and Mandi town also rushed to the spot.
Deputy Commissioner Mandi Rughdev Thakur, who visited the spot with other senior officials said additional district Magistrate (ADM) Rajiv Kumar has been asked to hold a magisterial inquiry to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Gurdev Chand Sharma, Superintendent of Police (Mandi) said the preliminary findings suggest that the fire was caused by the short-circuit and spread through the building. The fire tenders were rushed from Mandi to control the fire but the tragedy had already happened.
The smoke caused by the fire and burning of the wood (used in the building) also resulted in the suffocation.
Later in the day, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur also reached out to the family and expressed shock and grief to the survivors. The government will try to extend all help, he assured.
Local MLAs Vinod Kumar, Inder Singh Gandhi and Rakesh Jamwal, besides Col. Inder Singh also accompanied the Chief Minister.