Tent fire kills 15 at gathering of eunuchs

An isolated and shunned community of castrated men, transvestites and transsexuals mourned yesterday for 15 comrades killed when a fire blazed through a tent where thousands had gathered in Delhi to honour deceased friends.

The fire on Sunday night sent the gathered eunuchs into a panic as people struggled to escape the burning tent. At least 36 were injured.

The term eunuch, or hijra, is used in India to describe a community of people who identify themselves as neither male nor female but as members of a third gender. They traditionally survive by begging, dancing at weddings or blessing babies and are frequently subjected to discrimination. AP