Six arrested for negligence

NGO workers get bail in balloon burst case

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Six persons, including the programme director of non-government organisation, Save the Children, have been arrested for alleged negligence due to which 20 children sustained burn injuries when a bunch of gas balloons they were carrying for release during a candle light procession organised on "World Day against Child Labour" exploded at the India Gate lawns on Sunday.

According to the police, they have arrested Brian Heidel, the NGO programme director, along with D. Lakshmi Rani, Jagriti Sharan, Srinivas Vardhan, Utpal Moitra, and Manvendra Nath, who were also involved in organising the procession. All of them were later released on bail.

The incident occurred around 7-30 p.m. on Sunday when the procession was about to conclude at India Gate. The children were releasing the balloons when they exploded after one of them apparently came in contact with a candle held by a child. As several balloons exploded in quick succession, the children standing nearby sustained burn injuries on their faces and hands. The NGO volunteers rushed them to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital from where they were discharged after first-aid. In all, over 200 children from Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, had gathered under the aegis of the Save the Children to observe the day.

Meanwhile, in a statement released to the media, the NGO expressed deep regret over the accident and said it was taking all necessary steps to alleviate the sufferings of the children who sustained burn injuries. "Save the Children United Kingdom is cooperating with the authorities in the investigations into the accident," said the release.

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