DELHI COLONY TURNS INTO HUMAN FURNACE 

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By FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT AND AGENCIES
  • Published 14.03.99
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New Delhi, March 14 :     At least 28 people were charred to death after a devastating fire swept through a cluster of slums along river Yamuna in north Delhi. Unofficial figures put the toll at 40. Most of the victims were burnt alive in a mosque where they had run for safety. Thousands, including the children pictured above, were left homeless. The area was inhabited mostly by ragpickers and stocked with inflammable material. The plastic material and strong breeze from the river turned the slums into a huge incinerator. The fire raged from a Bengali basti and within minutes engulfed the whole area housing nearly 50,000 people. Police suspect a short-circuit may be the cause. But CPM members of Parliament Hannan Mollah and Nilotpal Basu, who were to address a demonstration against deportation of ?Bangladeshis? from the colony, said the fire could have been the result of a sabotage. Till late tonight, survivors were running from pillar to post in search of their kin.