10 guilty in fire deaths of 94 Indian school kids

2014-07-30 16:53
Indian police officers inspect the burnt remains of a school building in Kumbakonam. (M Lakshman, AP)

Indian police officers inspect the burnt remains of a school building in Kumbakonam. (M Lakshman, AP)

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New Delhi - A court in southern India convicted 10 people on Wednesday for a fire in 2004 that raged through a thatched-roof schoolhouse and killed 94 children while most of the faculty escaped unscathed.

Those found guilty of charges such as culpable homicide and endangerment include the primary school's owner, his wife, the head mistress, the meal planner and the cook, according to Press Trust of India news agency. Another 11 people were acquitted by the Thanjavur district court in the state of Tamil Nadu.

The blaze, sparked in the school's kitchen as a lunchtime meal was being prepared on a log fire, quickly spread across the building.

A state investigating committee later found that on the day of the fire, school officials had brought in students from two other schools to show inspectors that the classrooms were full, leaving the building overcrowded.

The investigation, completed in June 2005, also found that the school's employees had no training in disaster management, and that the school had no fire-fighting equipment and poor exit facilities.

With India's court system backlogged, the trial did not begin until 2012 and included testimony from hundreds of people, including students who survived the fire as well as parents of those killed.

Read more on:    india

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