New Delhi: At least 15 people were killed and more than 34 injured in a fire at a congregation of eunuchs at a community park in east Delhi on Sunday, fire brigade officials said.

However, Delhi Health Minister AK Walia, who visited the injured in hospital, put the number of dead at 12, while police said 10 people were killed.

Walia, who visited the Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital where most of the injured were taken, announced compensation for the victims but did not specify the amount.

The minister also ordered a thorough probe into the incident. "The deputy commissioner (revenue) of east Delhi (JP Sharma) has been asked to investigate the incident and file his report to the state government at the earliest," he told reporters.

The first intimation of the fire at the park in Nand Nagri's E2 block, where the three-day Akhil Bharatiya Kinnara Samaj Sarvdharma Mahasammelan started on Sunday, was received around 6.50 pm, a fire brigade official said.

According to officials, the blaze started after a tent caught fire following suspected electrical short-circuit.
As many as 2,000 to 2,500 people were understood to have been present inside the community centre when the tent burst into flames, police said.

The tents erected on the grounds of the community hall were completely gutted.

As the fire spread, people ran helter-skelter searching for a safe area but many got trapped in the fire and lost their lives, police said.

The approach road to the park was narrow, which hampered rescue operations as the big fire tenders could not reach the spot to fight the blaze. However, smaller fire tenders were able to get in and battle the flames.

Meanwhile, the eunuchs themselves, aided by personnel of the National Disaster Response Force, the Delhi government's civil defence, locals and the Nirankari Sevak Samaj, started rescue operations, bringing out the injured and bodies and clearing the debris.

Fire department officials said the organisers had not taken permission from the department.
Ashu, a participant in the event, said eunuchs had started arriving for the event since Saturday evening and were staying at the venue, where a huge marquee had been put up.

Most of the injured were taken to the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, which was only a short distance away. Some were also taken to the Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital.

Case against organisers, compensation announced

Delhi Police on Monday registered a case of causing death due to negligence against organisers of a transgender meet in Nand Nagri where a fire left 14 dead even as the city government announced a compensation of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the mishap.

Police sources said the organisers had not taken the requisite permission from fire brigade and police for holding the meeting and a case has been registered against them.
   
Fourteen eunuchs were killed and over 40 others injured last night when a major fire swept through the community hall in Nand Nagri where the congregation of the community was taking place.
   
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who visited the injured at the GTB Hospital along with Health Minister A K Walia, said a compensation of Rs two lakh each will be given to the next of kin of those killed in the fire.
   
The seriously injured will get Rs 50,000 each while those who have sustained minor injuries will get Rs 5000 each.
   
She also directed the hospital administration to take proper care of the injured.
   
Sources said prima facie the reason for the fire appeared to be a short circuit in the kitchen area and that the fire spread from there.
   
The tents erected on the grounds of the community hall were completely gutted and the entire premises were engulfed in flames.
   
Delhi government has ordered a thorough probe into the fire incident.

(Agencies)