New Delhi fire kills 15 eunuchs at convention

By AFP
Published: November 21, 2011

Members of eunuch community mourn the death of a fellow eunuch in a major fire at a community centre, outside GTB hospital in New Delhi on November 20, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

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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Reader Comments (2)

  • ali
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:32AM

    awww….poor they

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  • You Said It
    Nov 23, 2011 - 2:57AM

    @ali:
    Not sure of the tone of your comment, but it came across as possibly mockery. I apologize if that wasn’t your intent, but this is human life we’re talking about.

    Regardless of their handicap (and yes, it is no different than being physically handicapped), to quote John Donne, “any man’s death diminishes me”.

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