Sunday night turned out to be the longest night for the hundreds of eunuchs, the victims of a major blaze that broke out at a community centre in east Delhi’s Nand Nagri.
With all their belongings gutted, a majority of them were forced to spend a sleepless night either under the sky outside the community centre or at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, where the injured were admitted.
Meanwhile, one more death was reported on Monday afternoon and the deceased was identified as Shakeela. With this, the toll has risen to 16.
Forty people have been reported to be injured. Only six of the 16 bodies could be identified on Monday morning.
According to Rumi, a eunuch from Kolkata, the dead people included their 80-year-old guru. “We still cannot believed we lost our guru. He met such a tragic end,” said Rumi.
“The fire took away everything we had. We don’t even have money to buy a train or bus ticket. The local people helped us in this tragedy by giving us food and water,” said Meena, a eunuch from Varanasi.
The rescue operation continued till late Monday evening. Burnt bags and other belongings of victims were scattered all around the premises of the community hall.
Many waited for hours outside the gate to collect their belongings as the police were not letting anyone, except some organisers, to go inside. Agitated over this issue, several of them were seen raising slogans against the Delhi Police. The police assured that their belongings will be handed over to the respective owners. “We had come from Kolkata to attend this conclave. Of 16 dead, four are from Kolkata only,” said Pooja, a eunuch.