Amritsar, October 20: Grief, shock and outrage hung in the air a day after around 61 people were killed and 94 injured when a train ploughed through crowds watching Dussehra celebrations in Amritsar on Friday.
While many were shocked and heartbroken at the deaths of their dear ones, several were distraught and inconsolable at not being able to find the bodies or remains of their kindred.
Bawa Dogra (40) of Jaura Phatak said his sister Ashmina Dogra along her husband Aman Dogra and children Nakul (11) and Kashish (7) had gone to watch the Dussehra celebrations but no one returned home. “I am still looking for my sister’s body but have been able to find only one arm from Amritsar civil hospital’s mortuary.”
Bawa said he had told Ashmina not to go there as it was unsafe but she didn’t pay any heed. “It was the fault of administration which didn’t arrange any security despite a Punjab minister’s wife being the chief guest. Strict action should be taken against the organisers of the Dussehra function,” he demanded.
Dabbu Mandal, a labourer from Mohkampura area, said, “My niece Aarti (23) along with her husband Jatinder (24) and her son Shivam (2) had been living in my house since last two years. On Friday, the three had gone to witness the Dussehra celebration at Jaura Fatak and were hit by the train. Jatinder and Shivam were killed while Aarti suffered injuries and was admitted to Hartej hospital. She has been asking us about her husband and son, but we are not telling about their deaths as she fell unconscious two times since Friday night.”
Kiran Kumari of Jaura Fatak said, “My uncle Dinesh (40), his wife Preeti (38) and their son Abhishek (12) had gone to see the burning Ravana. Hit by the train, Dinesh and Abhishek lost their lives on the spot while Preeti suffered severe head injury and she has been in coma. Their another son Arush (3) is longing for his parents. It is so shocking.”
Rajan Kumar, who played the role of Hanuman in the Dussehra celebration, said his cousin Munish, a DAV college student, was at the Dussehra celebrations.
“Since the train tragedy happened, his phone number has been unreachable. I am sure he was hit by the train, but we are not able to find his body. His family is also trying to find him everywhere but to no avail.”
Vijay Kumar, a wholesale dealer of shoes and resident of Dharampur, said his son Manish, who had passed out of Class 12 and was unemployed, had left the house at 5 pm on Friday, but hasn’t returned yet.
“As we heard about the tragedy, we started searching him, but failed. We visited all the hospitals of the city throughout night, but did not find him. Finally, we saw a picture of a severed head lying on the tracks on social media,” he said.
Vijay Kumar believes the picture is that of his 19-year-old son. Manish’s younger brother, Ishu said the administration had shown them a leg, but they are not sure whether it is Manish’s. He said they did not find the severed head or any other parts of his body.
His uncle Vipan Kumar alleged that the administration is not helping them in finding their loving kin. Seeking the whereabouts of Manish, his family started crying at the emergency ward of Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, few minutes before Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh visited.
Rajneesh Arora, regional transport officer (RTO) Amritsar, who has been deployed at Amritsar civil hospital’s mortuary house, said, “There are more than 10 bodies in the mortuary which are beyond recognition because of their severe limbs”.
As per the district administration, around 20 bodies are still unidentified.
Source Hindustan Times