Three siblings were charred to death after their house caught fire during the intervening night of Sunday and Monday in a remote area of Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The father, along with the neighbours, recovered the bodies of the deceased while locals alleged that lack of road connectivity and a fire tender station claimed the lives of three innocent young sisters.
The fateful incident occurred in Tajnihal hilly area of Ukherhal tehsil which falls in Ramso Sub-Division of Ramban district.
The bodies of the siblings have been identified as Bisma Jan (18), Saika Jan (14) and Saniya Jan (11), daughters of Abdul Lateef Lone.
The locals told the news agency Kashmir News Trust that they were not sure how the fire broke out. They said it was a three-storey house made up of dry timber and its roof was a thatched one. The parents were sleeping in the ground storey, the fire broke out in the second storey and the ill-fated sisters were in slumber in the third storey of the house.
Abdul Lateef Lone, the house owner and the father of siblings after hearing the cracking noise of flames started shouting, after which neighbours rushed to the spot and found out that the house was on fire. The father, with the help of neighbours rushed to the 3rd storey of the house when the fire was still in progress and found the charred bodies of three sisters.
The officials from the nearby police station sent the bodies for post-mortem and launched a case of unnatural death. The preliminary report of the post-mortem report can ascertain the facts, said the police adding that investigation will be done to ascertain the cause of the fire.
One of the locals said that fire tenders were unable to turn up in the area in time due to the narrowness of roads. “There is no road connectivity. Police reached the spot before the fire-tenders. It took a lot of time to lay the water pipes on the ground and that delay became the cause of catastrophe.
Muhammad Ramzan, a local said that they have been agitating and repeatedly asking the government to set up a fire station either in the Ramso or Ukherhal areas. “All our pleas have gone to deaf ears. There are two fire stations for our remote areas. One is at Banihal and another at Ramban and both are at a distance of over 40 kilometres,” he said.
Locals said that the intensity of the fire was such that the trio failed to come out of the room when the house caught fire.
The death of the siblings has daunted the area. The melancholic locals have been accusing the successive governments of ignoring their needs and demands. “There are no facilities. We are living on the mercy of God,” they said.
Meanwhile, officials from the police and civil administration have visited the area to assess the situation. [KNT]