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India may sue Bahraini company

india Updated: Jul 31, 2006 15:35 IST

India may press manslaughter charges against a Bahraini firm, 16 of whose Indian workers died in a labour camp fire on Sunday.

According to reports, India's Ambassador to Bahrain Balkrishna Shetty told community leaders that the embassy was seriously considering filing a case of manslaughter against the owner of the Royal Tower Construction Company.

Apart from the 16 dead, 11 others were injured in the fire that broke out after an electrical short-circuit at the company's labour camp in the Bahraini capital Manama early on Sunday.

"We think the Bahrain government should press for manslaughter against the company but if they don't we shall consult our legal team and consider the option ourselves," he was quoted as saying by the Bahrain Tribune newspaper.

The ambassador, who visited the site of the tragedy, expressed shock at the substandard working and living conditions of the workers.

"How can the authorities allow the employer to dump up to 15 to 20 workers in each room?" Gulf Daily News newspaper quoted him as asking.

"There was no fire escape in the building. With grilled windows around, the place looks like a prison," he said.

According to the Tribune report, the company is also in trouble with Bahrain's Ministry of Labour, which rejected the two alternative accommodation sites selected by the management for the survivors.

After the government's rejection, the company reportedly urged the workers to find their own accommodation.

The Indian embassy then stepped in and said that, according to the workers' contract and Bahraini labour laws, the accommodation of the workers, especially after such a disaster, was the responsibility of the sponsor, according to the Tribune report.

The survivors were consequently lodged in suitable accommodation in Manama.

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