In a tragic incident, four minor children and their mother were charred to death after the room in which they were sleeping caught fire and the roof collapsed in village Thothian, about 28 kilometers from Amritsar.
The deceased were identified as Manjeet Kaur (42), her three daughters Komalpreet Kaur (16), Navpreet Kaur (12), Kajal (14) and son named Jaskaran.
Jatinder Singh, the father of the children works in Kolkata.
Amritsar (rural) senior superintendent of police (SSP) PS Virk said, "The family had burnt a coal hearth to keep the room warm and closed the door and windows. It is assumed that first the kids and their mother would have been suffocated and subsequently fell unconscious, and then some spark would have led to fire, which turned volatile and the roof collapsed."
When the police team reached in the wee hours, the bodies of all the deceased were totally burnt.
As HT team visited the village, shock prevailed in the entire area. Villagers claimed that they made every effort to control the fire but it was too late.
Holding a government document that had picture of his grandchildren and daughter-in-law, Jagat Singh said, "In almost no time everything is lost. I cannot explain the shock we are going through. Everything is finished for us."
Jagat Singh, who lives at a distance from the house said, "Someone informed me about the unfortunate incident in the morning. I have also informed my son and he is rushing back."
As all the four kids used to play in the streets, the neighbours too were in shock that the children were no more.
This is a big shock. We cannot believe that the entire family has died. They must have struggled hard to save their lives but God has taken them away, said Baldev Singh, a resident of the village.
Amritsar deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal had sent a team to look into the incident.
Talking to HT, Aggarwal said, "As a special case, the kin of deceased family will be given compensation from the chief Minister's relief fund."
Till now, it seems that the kids and their mother fell unconscious after emissions from the coal hearth, and later it took a serious turn when the room caught fire. However police is still investigating the matter, he added.