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India: Factory fire kills dozens

Indian authorities are investigating the cause of a devastating fire that killed at least 43 people in a crowded market in central New Delhi. The blaze broke out at the four-storey building in the city's congested old quarter early on Sunday morning. At least 100 people were sleeping inside the factory, which mainly makes school bags, when the fire started. More than 60 have been rescued. According to police, many of the victims were factory workers who were asleep when the blaze began.

Assistant New Delhi police commissioner Anil Kumar Mittal said that "the fire appears to have been caused by an electric short circuit," adding that authorities were investigating whether the factory was operating legally. Building laws and safety norms are routinely flouted in New Delhi, making fires common.

The building's owner, Rihan, was detained on suspicion of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Mr Mittal said. Rihan's manager Furkan was also arrested.

The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the tragedy, the worst fire accident in the national capital since the 1997 Uphaar cinema blaze that claimed 59 lives, and have sought a report within seven days.
Read more: The Times of India; ABC News online; BBC News

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