Parents to appeal Kumbakonam fire tragedy ruling

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The aftermath of the 2004 Kumbakonam fire that killed 94 children. Photo: Reuters

The parents of the 94 schoolchildren killed in the 2004 Kumbakonam fire are appealing to the apex court following the suspension of the convictions of seven people responsible for the high-profile tragedy, including the founder of the school, and the modification of sentences handed to two others by the Madras High Court on Thursday, according to media sources.

A division bench comprising Justices M Sathyanarayanan and VM Velumani also abated the conviction of the school founder’s wife because she is deceased, ANI reported.

Twenty-one people were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code after the incident. In 2014, a court acquitted 11 of them and convicted and sentenced 10, including Pulavar Palanisamy, founder of Sri Krishna Matriculation School, to jail terms. The high court suspended the lower court’s conviction of school principal Santhana Lakshmi, noon-meal organizer Gajalakshmi, engineer Jayachandran, District Educational Officer R Balaji, personal assistant Sivaprakasam, supervisor Dhandavan and Durairaj, an assistant, PTI reported.

On hearing the judgment on Thursday, parents said the deaths of the 94 children were not taken seriously enough by the court, the Times of India reported.

It modified the life sentence awarded to Palanisamy to time already spent in detention from the beginning of the investigation onward.

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