On learning of the tragic fire during local new year celebrations in the Indian state of Kerala, Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC today expressed great sadness, saying:
"The heavy loss of life in the run up to Vishu celebrations in the Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam is absolutely tragic. On behalf of the entire Commonwealth family of nations I offer our deepest condolences to the Government and people of India, especially those affected by this catastrophe at what should have been a time of celebration.
"Our hearts go out to the bereaved. Our thoughts are with the many survivors suffering from the dreadful effects of the fire. Our appreciation goes to the emergency services and healthcare personnel who are assisting them.
"We feel deeply for all the people of India at this time of loss and sadness, and the Commonwealth stands with you in your pain and grief."