Embassy pushes for fire charges

Indian Embassy in Bahrain presses for corporate manslaughter after 16 die in residential tower blaze

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  August 5, 2006

The Indian Embassy in Bahrain is to push for corporate manslaughter charges to be brought against Royal Tower Construction Company, after 16 Indians employed by the company lost their lives when a fire broke out in their three-storey residential building in Manama. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in New Delhi, India has also said that it will demand compensation for the workers from the Bahrain authorities. An official statement by the Bahraini Ministry of Interior Affairs posted on the Bahrain News Agency website said: “A fire broke out in a three-floor building used as a residence for workers behind Omar Al Khayam Hotel in Manama.” The statement added that the 16 deaths were being investigated and the reasons for the cause of the accident were being determined. “We are going to press charges against this company for corporate manslaughter,” said Balkrishna Shetty, the Indian Ambassador to Bahrain. “It constructed an illegal wooden structure on top of the building and that is where the fire started. This company has been warned before by the Bahrain authorities for illegal practices and this time it has gone too far, resulting in the deaths of 16 people.” An official from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs said that the dead were from India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu. “The people who died were Tamilian and the minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, [Vayalar Ravi], has asked the Indian ambassador to Bahrain to demand compensation for the workers from the Bahraini authorities,” said Ajit Kumar, personal secretary to the overseas minister. He added that seven more were injured in the blaze and that the ministry was making arrangements to transport the bodies of the dead workers to India. Royal Tower Construction was unavailable to comment.

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