Three tourists from Bangladesh lost their lives in a blaze that engulfed five houseboats on Friday night at the tourist hotspot of Dal Lake in Srinagar.
An official said a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) team retrieved the bodies from the debris of the houseboats on Saturday. The deceased were identified as Anindaya Kowshal, Das Gupta and Mohammad Moinud.
The circumstances under which the houseboats caught fire near Ghat No. 9 in the Dal Lake could not be ascertained immediately.
“Swift action by the SDRF ensured rescue of tourists and other people in the affected structures. The administration is dedicated to providing assistance to the victims,” Ajaz Asad, Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, said. The administration also relocated four houseboats to prevent further damage.
Faiz Ahmad Bakshi, secretary-general of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), said the five houseboats were worth crores of rupees. “A great loss to the houseboat heritage,” Mr. Bakshi said.
KCCI president Javid Ahmad Tenga urged J&K Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha to have the losses assessed and “announce necessary compensation to the victims”.
The KCCI sought fast approval for reconstruction of the houseboats.
Regional parties, including the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party and J&K Apni Party, have expressed shock over the devastating fire incident.