At least 17 people were killed when the roof of a shelter at a cremation ground in Uttar Pradesh's Muradnagar collapsed on Sunday, police said. Meanwhile 38 people have been rescued.
The roof collapsed when over 25 people had taken shelter at the structure while it was raining. Most of them were relatives of Ram Dhan, who was being cremated at that time.
"17 people have died so far while 38 people have been rescued after a shed collapsed in Muradnagar. We've started a probe and we'll take strict action against those found guilty," news agency ANI quoted Anita C Meshram, Divisional Commissioner, Meerut, as saying.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed his grief over the incident.
"I have been deeply saddened by the news of the deaths of several people as the roof of a crematorium at Muradnagar in Ghaziabad fell. In this hour of grief, I express my condolences to the families of those who passed away, as well as wish that those injured in the accident get well as soon as possible," the Union Minister tweeted in Hindi from his personal Twitter handle.
Rescue workers are still going through the rubble to locate more victims, Ghaziabad (Rural) Superintendent of Police Iraj Raja said. Several people are admitted at hospitals.
A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also been rushed to the spot, PTI reported.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident.
The chief minister directed officials to give financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased, a statement issued by the state government said.
The chief minister also directed the Divisional Commissioner of Meerut and ADG Meerut zone to submit a report in this connection.
(With input from agencies)