Out of the 27 people who have been confirmed as dead in fire that broke out in office building near Delhi’s Mundka metro station, 21 are women, reported Indian Express.
While only eight victims, including five women, have been identified so far, 24 of the 29 in the missing persons’ list prepared by police – who are feared to be among the dead — are women.
More than 70 people were inside when the fire started and witnesses said some jumped out of windows to escape. Women made up the majority of the office's workers.
The building housed a company which manufactured, assembled and sold CCTVs and WiFi routers. Most of the women worked in the assembling unit or as helpers, earning a monthly salary of Rs 6,500-7,500, but were happy to be “independent”, their families said to the Indian Express.
One of the women not accounted for is 19-year-old Pooja, who is her family's main bread winner.
Her 14-year-old sister Moni told the BBC her and her mother had run to the hospital as soon as they had heard about the fire.
"She had gone to office at nine in the morning. She worked as data entry operator. She didn't have her phone, so, she couldn't give us a call," BBC quoted her as saying. She also wondered how her family would survive without her sister if she was not found alive.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed their grief over the tragedy. “Distressed by the tragic fire accident at a building near Mundka Metro Station in Delhi. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish for speedy recovery of the injured,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex gratia of ₹2 lakh from the Pradhan Mantri National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to the next of kin of those who died in the fire. Additionally, the PM's office announced, the injured will be given a ₹50,000 aid.
“Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a tragic fire in Delhi. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” Modi wrote on Twitter.
Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that DNA tests would be used to identify the bodies, which had been "charred beyond recognition", the Hindustan Times reported. Seven bodies have so far been identified, said police.
A local official, Jogi Ram Jain, said preliminary reports suggested a short circuit had caused the fire and that the building did not have proper fire safety certification.