Delhi fire: Threats forced neighbours to keep mum

By Ananya Bhatnagar
New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) Despite being aware of the possible threat to life and the dangerous conditions, the “corruption and fear of power” prevented neighbours from raising alarm that could possibly have averted the Anaj Mandi fire and saved lives.

Speaking to IANS, a neighbourhood resident said, “We tried to raise alarm with the factory owners. But our mouths were shut with threats.”

The risk of disaster has always been lurking in these self-styled industrial areas with few inches thin wall separating houses, tiny passages and electric wires dangling just few meters above the head of a standing man.

“Another incident of fire had taken place here a few days ago. Three-four people died. But it was pushed under the carpet using threats and bribes,” said a 25-year-old resident of a house behind the gutted factory.

“Apart from incidents like fire, people also get injured working in these units. Even young children are employed. But nothing happens as the authorities have turned a deaf ear and shut their eyes to it,” said another neighbour.

Earlier in the day, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team visited the spot to examine the crime scene and collect evidence.

Forty-three people died in the fire that broke out at a factory in the wee hours of Sunday.

The police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against the factory owners and others under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and arrested two people, including the building owner Rehan, in the case.

“The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch,” said Anil Mittal, Additional PRO, Delhi Police.

On Monday, the two accused were produced before a Delhi court, which remanded them to 14-day police custody. The police told the court that many deceased were yet to be identified and the post mortem were being done.

–IANS
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