Delhi violence: Anxious family members visit mortuary

Anxious family members visit mortuary in desperate search for those missing since Delhi riots

Representative image. (AFP Photo)

With a photograph of her youngest brother in her hand, Nabi Jan frantically went around the GTB Hospital mortuary on Sunday, hoping that he was not among those killed in the northeast Delhi communal violence.

A woman, whose 19-year-old son has been missing from northeast Delhi's Mustafabad area, fell unconscious after seeing a corpse at the mortuary. Her family later confirmed that her son's body was not in there.

Jan, whose younger brother Salman, 25, has been missing since the riots, was one among the desperate people looking for some clue about him.

"Salman worked as a labourer and had gone to Gokalpuri on February 26. He kept a phone, but it is switched off and there is no clue of what happened to him," Jan said.

None of the bodies in the mortuary was of his brother, he said.

Jan also spoke to a group of young lawyers and a team of the Shahdara District Legal Services Authority (SDLSA) at a help desk, providing information and other help to the relatives of the missing persons.

"God knows what will happen to Salman's two sons, aged eight and six years, as their mother is already dead. I have lodged a complaint with police but there is no information about my him," Jan said.

Sources said till Saturday six bodies were unidentified at the mortuary, out of which two were identified and claimed. One body was charred and three others were also unidentified.

Naeem, 45, a resident of Jafrabad who worked as a bookbinder, went missing during the riots on February 24.

"He had gone to old Delhi for some work. He told over the phone that the situation was not good and he was near Usmanpur, Pehla Pushta. I have searched in many other hospitals and now came here," said Naeem's brother Najmuddin.

Mumtaj, a high court lawyer, who is helping people along with her colleagues Farhan, Faraz and a team of volunteers, said record was being maintained by them to find about those missing.

"We are also helping people in the release of the identified bodies, besides arranging for immediate help needed by the families of the victims," Mumtaj said.

Mamtesh Sharma, lawyer and paralegal volunteer Asha Mittal, manning the SDLSA help desk, said they were coordinating with hospital authorities and police to provide assistance to people seeking information about their missing family members.

"So far, around 35 families contacted us. Some identified bodies, others were directed by us to look into the wards where injured are admitted. Also, we are coordinating with police to find out if anyone missing was detained by them," Sharma said.

The relatives of Mohsin Ali, 22, Mohammad Mohsin, Feroz Ahamad and Mohammad Arshad, who were missing since the riots, were also present at the mortuary to take a look at the unidentified bodies with a hope to find them.

 The communal violence in Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar, Bhajan Pura, Yamuna Vihar and Mustafabad areas of northeast Delhi claimed at least 42 lives and left over 200 injured.

A large number of properties have been damaged. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel.