NEW DEHLI: At least 15 eunuchs were killed and 31 injured in India when a fire engulfed a venue in the capital New Delhi where an annual convention was being held, police said Monday.
The blaze broke out on Sunday evening and quickly spread through tents erected in the east of the city for the three-day gathering of thousands of eunuchs.
Police said a short circuit in an electrical system may have sparked the fire.
Eye-witnesses recounted the horror of watching their friends caught up in the inferno.
“We were serving tea to some activists from Haryana when the tent above our heads just exploded in flames,” Swapna Kumari, one of the participants, told the Hindustan Times newspaper.
Fire brigade officials said they pulled 14 charred bodies from the gutted tents. One person died on the way to the hospital.
The Delhi government is investigating allegations that the organisers of the gathering had not sought permission from the fire department.
In India the term “eunuch” is mostly used to refer to cross-dressers and pre and post-operative transsexuals.
Indian eunuchs are severely marginalised and, unable to get jobs, often rely on begging and the sex trade for income.
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