Long wait for kin of Kolkata fire victims

Long wait for kin of Kolkata fire victims

Agitated family members stage demonstration in front of hospital

Long wait for kin of Kolkata fire victims

A bulldozer is used to carry out demolition work at Stephen Court building, which caught fire two days back, in Kolkata on Thursday. PTI

Those were considered fortunate who could finally identify the bodies after nearly 70 hours of impatient wait. However, it is still an indefinite wait for the relatives of those 13 persons who are still missing after Tuesday’s inferno at the Stephen Court building in city’s upmarket Park Street here.

As sobs, wails and shrill cries made the atmosphere heavy at the state-run SSKM Hospital since the wee hours of Wednesday, relatives nearly pounded the hospital officials after claims and counter-claims over four bodies. Finally, the officials had to opt for DNA tests on Thursday to cool the ruffled tempers. In fact, four bodies have two claimants each.

“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, 18, had their lives snuffed out in their teens. “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 and his fiancee 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.

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.
Meanwhile, even as the Kolkata Municipal Corporation(KMC) began to demolish the gutted portions of the building, Calcutta HC on Thursday slapped an injunction on KMC, asking it to restrain from going ahead with the current demolition work following a petition.