10 burnt alive in Bihar fire incident

Patna, April 22 (IANS) At least ten people including five children and three women were burnt alive as fire swept a row of houses, including one hosting a marriage party, in a village in Bihar’s Aurangabad district, police said.

“Ten people including five children and three women were burnt alive in Harinagar village under Daudnagar police station in Aurangabad. Three others sustained serious burns,” said a district police official.

Police officers, citing villagers, said the fire started at Bhola Paswan’s house but soon spread to the houses of his neighbours Baban Ram, Lalan Ram and Jata Paswan. “There was a marriage function in Jata Paswan’s house and it was crowded. Most of the victims belong to that family,” a police official said.

Daudnagar sub-divisional officer Rakesh Kumar said that injured have been admitted in the hospital for treatment. The district magistrate and superintendent of police are camping in the village.

The state government has announced a compensation of Rs.4 lakh to the kin of each victim.

Fire incidents are common during the hot summer months in rural Bihar, where people still live in thatched homes.

Officials said that fire incidents have been on the rise due to a heat wave with temperatures as high as 42 degrees Celsius over the last 10 days.

Early this week, fear of sweeping fires lead to some residents in over a dozen villages in Bagaha in West Champaran district ask others not to light firewood or kerosene stoves to cook food after 9 a.m. to minimise the chance of fires, a district official said.

They have also issued a diktat to punish violators.

According to latest data compiled by the state disaster management department, more than 400 cases of fire were reported in the state as of Friday leaving 23 people and over 50 animals dead, while seven people injured as well as 11 animals were injured. Some 5,742 families have been affected.

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