Bangkok Post

Wall collapse kills dozens at wedding

Children among dead at Indian celebratio­n


JAIPUR: A wall crashed down on an Indian wedding party during a storm killing at least 24 people including four children, police said yesterday, with one rescuer describing the scene as “horrific”.

Dozens more were injured when the 4m-high concrete wall collapsed, trapping guests who had taken shelter from violent rain in a tin shack on Wednesday night, police superinten­dent Anil Tank said.

“We worked through the night,” one rescue worker at the scene in Bharatpur, Rajasthan state, told India TV news network. “We tried to rescue as many people as possible, the scene was horrific.”

Mr Tank, a senior officer in Bharatpur, said 26 people were injured, 15 of them seriously. Television footage showed anxious relatives standing next to hospital beds.

Police have launched an investigat­ion and detained a wedding hall manager on charges of causing death by negligence.

“We have registered a case and taken one of the managers of the banquet hall into custody,” district magistrate Narendra Kumar Gupta told reporters. “We will investigat­e if the hall owners had a valid licence. In case they did not have a licence, appropriat­e action will be taken against them.”

Mr Gupta also announced compensati­on of 50,000 rupees (27,000 baht) for the family of each person killed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the incident had pained him “beyond words”. “My thoughts are with the families of the deceased. I hope the injured recover soon,” he tweeted.

Indian weddings are often grandiose affairs with huge numbers of guests and lavish ceremonies that run for several days.

Many families pour their life savings into them, and it is not uncommon for affluent urban families to host thousands of guests. In 2014 one guest was killed when a floating platform carrying the bride and groom that was suspended from the end of a crane collapsed onto a wedding party.

Disasters more often result from celebrator­y firing into the air, particular­ly in rural north India where gun ownership is widespread. Last year, at least three people died in such incidents, and earlier this month a 12-year-old boy died of gunshot injuries sustained at a wedding in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

Rajasthan is one of India’s most arid states, but suffers frequent dust and rain storms during the hotter months.

A heatwave has swept across much of India in recent weeks, with temperatur­es reaching 44 degrees Celsius in the capital Delhi.

Building collapses are common in India, especially during the annual monsoon season.

A massive influx of people to cities in search of jobs and a shortage of low cost housing have fuelled the constructi­on of illegal buildings across the country, often with sub-standard material.

Some 1,885 people died from the collapse of various structures in India in 2015, according to the National Crimes Record Bureau.

 ?? AFP ?? A woman cries after a wall collapsed during a wedding, killing at least 24 people, in Bharatpur in India’s Rajasthan state yesterday.
AFP A woman cries after a wall collapsed during a wedding, killing at least 24 people, in Bharatpur in India’s Rajasthan state yesterday.

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