One person was killed and at least 11 children injured in a blast in Hyderabad while they were making firecrackers inside a cramped room locked from inside.
The tragedy occurred on Thursday evening, and the children - aged between eight and 13 - were admitted to the hospital along with three adults in a critical condition. One of the injured died early on Friday.
Though child labour is illegal, the children were employed by a butcher called Narsing Rao to manufacture firecrackers at his house at Lakshminaryan Bagh in Goshamahal area. Each child was being paid Rs 10 for making 100 crackers.
Children from poor and lower middle-class families worked part-time in his house after school. Police said Narsing used to keep the main door of the house bolted while work continued inside.
His two sisters aged 25 and 30 were among the three adults injured in the blast, which created panic in the area. Residents of the locality had to break the door to rescue the people.
Police have arrested Narsingh and booked him under the Explosive Substances Act and Child Labour Act.
Though the cause of the explosion is not clear, police suspect that the blast could have been caused by the pressure exerted on the crude explosive while it was being stuffed into crackers.
Hyderabad district collector RV Chandravadan has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.