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Posted at: Dec 7, 2015, 12:37 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2015, 12:19 AM (IST)

Social worker dies in Shimla fire incident

An achiever

  • Saroj Vashisht, also known as the mother of jail inmates, was given various awards for promoting literature and cultural activities
  • Some of these include the Vijaya Gujral Foundation Award, the India Vision Foundation Award, the Sixth Red and White Bravery Award, the Himotkarsh Award for National Integration, the Exemplary Social Service in various HP prisons and the HP Governor’s Award for voluntary work in jails
  • She was a well-known theatre critic, creative writer and a translator
  • Some of the stories written by her include ‘Apne Karavas’ (a short story collection, 1982), ‘Main Hoon Na’ (novel, 1996), ‘Abhivyanjana, Morcha Dar Morcha’ (1998)
  • She also brought out a collection of poems by prisoners
Social worker dies in Shimla fire incident
Saroj Vashisht

Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 6

Writer and social worker Saroj Vashisht, who dedicated her life to the welfare of prisoners, died in a fire incident at her house in Vikasnagar today.

The octogenarian was alone at home when the fire broke out past mid-night. Her neighbours saw smoke billowing out of her house and informed the police.

“We received the call at 3.45 am and firemen reached the spot within 10 minutes,” said Chief Fire Officer Bhopal Chauhan.

The police and firemen found Saroj lying unconscious in the bathroom. She was rushed to the IGMC, where doctors declared her brought dead.

The LED, computer, printer, books, documents and other belongings were destroyed in the fire.

The fire did not spread to adjoining flats and a major tragedy was averted. The cause of fire could not be ascertained. It could be a short-circuit, said the police.

ASP Bhajan Dev Negi said it appeared that a short-circuit in the bedroom led to the fire. “The house was locked from inside and we broke open the lock to enter the house and found her unconscious in the bathroom,” he said.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh mourned the death of Saroj and lauded her contribution to society.

She remained in the Tihar jail in the 90s as a story-teller and published three poetry books authored by jail inmates. She also played an important role in encouraging the inmates to exhibit their hidden talent.

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