Rings, watches only identification of Kolkata's charred victims

Sobs, wails and shrill cries made the atmosphere heavy at the state-run SSKM Hospital since the wee hours of Wednesday as charred bodies started coming in from the Park Street building.

After the Tuesday afternoon blaze, five to six injured people were brought to the hospital, of whom one died. But the body count began rising after midnight as the fire brigade personnel controlled the blaze and managed to enter the upper floors of the office-cum-residential complex.

Seventeen burnt bodies were found from the sixth floor of the eight-storey building, and the toll had mounted to 24 by Wednesday morning.
"We had been searching frantically for our daughter... at last we could identify her," said the father of a young girl, who used to work in a computer firm in that building.
Twins Jay Khandelwal and Vijay Khandelwal had their lives snuffed out in their teens. They were 18 years old.

"They were born on the same day and died together," said the devastated father of the Khandelwal brothers.
For the family members, it was a long wait, as they had assembled in the hospital from Tuesday evening itself. And when at last they saw their dear ones, they could not recognise them.

Ruhi Parvin, in her 20s, used to work for Microsyst Tech enterprise. She could only be identified by the ring she was wearing.
Wintech employee Tajendra Nath Samanta, 25, was slated to marry soon. His fiancée identified his body, courtesy his wrist watch.
Pampa Chatterjee, 21, was also unrecognisable. Finally, her parents managed to identify her after they recognised her chain and salwar.

There were also some moments of poignant drama Wednesday afternoon, as there was a virtual tug-of-war between family members of several victims over the bodies.
Some of the agitated family members staged a demonstration in front of the hospital because they had to wait for long before they could see the bodies.
SSKM Hospital has set up a help desk to facilitate the identification process.

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