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10 guilty in school fire

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - Updated: 9:12 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) -- An Indian court convicted 10 people today in a 2004 fire that tore through a thatched-roof schoolhouse, killing 94 children in a horrifying case that focused attention on poor fire regulations in the country.

The owner of the primary school, his wife, the headmistress and the meal planner were among those convicted of culpable homicide and endangerment, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Sentencing was set for later today.

The Thanjavur district court in Tamil Nadu state acquitted 11 other defendants.

The case drew attention to the numerous ill-equipped private schools in India, many lacking basic safety measures such as fire alarms and sprinklers. State investigators said the school had no firefighting equipment and poor exit facilities.

One of the surviving students, Madhumita, blamed "the carelessness of the teachers" for the deaths in Kumbakonam, a temple town about 320 kilometers (200 miles) southwest of Tamil Nadu's state capital, Chennai.

     

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