Bollywood celebrities, including megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran screenwriter Javed Akhtar, have condoled the deaths of 20 children who were killed in a fire in a commercial complex in Surat. Most of the victims included teenage students. While some of them died of suffocation, many due to injuries sustained after jumping out of windows to escape the fire.
In a video clip of the incident, some young students at the Takshashila Complex can be seen jumping off the third and fourth floors amid plumes of thick smoke.
Taking to Twitter, Bachchan said he is feeling "grief beyond expression" and praying for the families of the victims. "Terrible tragedy in Surat .. a devastating fire and 14-17 year old children caught in it jump off the building and perish... Grief beyond expression .. prayers," he posted.
Akhtar called the incident a "huge tradegy" and asked for strict fire safety rules across the country. "It is really a huge tragedy that 17 young people were burnt alive in Surat. My heart felt condolence to their family and friends. The municipalities of all the cities in our country should be much strict and insistent to make every building adhere to fire safety rules," he said.
Actor Bhumi Pedneker said she is feeling "heartbroken" over the tragedy. "My condolences to the families of the victims..may their souls rest in peace.This is so heartbreaking. "We really need to be more diligent about our security and safety rules and conditions.Stricter laws and better implementation #SuratfireTragedy," she wrote on Twitter.
Actor Shraddha Kapoor posted, "Deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the Surat fire tragedy. Heartbreaking. Prayers."
Actor Urmila Matondkar, who recently fought the Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket, expressed her condolences to the families of the students killed in the blaze. "Deeply saddened to hear about the fire tragedy in #Surat today. My condolences go out to the grieving families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured," she said.
South actor R Madhavan called for strict action against culprits and said the laws should be made stricter. "Ohhh Goddd... My heart aches... Those breaking the norms should be EXECUTED..." he posted on Twitter.
Police have arrested the owner of the Surat coaching centre, while two builders of the commercial Takshashila Complex are on the run. The accused coaching class owner has been identified as Bhargav Butani, and the builders as Harshul Vekaria and Jignesh Paliwal.