The agonising wait to claim the bodies of victims of the Nanded Express fire accident continued for their kith and kin on Sunday, as authorities struggled to expedite the process of matching the DNA profiles of those dead with their relatives.

Though 19 of the 26 bodies have been identified, authorities have handed over only 11 bodies to the relatives, based on the identification of the ornaments or watches worn by the victims. Relatives have not taken possession of the remaining eight bodies owing to a strange situation.

The State government has directed the relatives not to cremate the bodies but bury them, as it would be easier to exhume the bodies if there is any controversy.

“However, considering the religious beliefs, family members of the victims whose bodies have been identified have now decided to wait till the DNA profiles are matched,” explained P.K. Devdas, Head of Forensic wing of Victoria Hospital.

A pathetic scene was unfolding at the Victoria Hospital where the charred and unrecognisable bodies were preserved. Relatives were arguing with railway and police officials on the direction of “only burial” and also in respect of some victims who were declared missing or dead.

Authorities handed over six bodies on Saturday and five bodies, including that of Kandoba Kulkarni and Jui George, were handed over on Sunday. Railway authorities said that while 19 of the dead were identified, nine were found to be “feared dead or missing”. This observation was based on the list of passengers who boarded the train.

Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge said in Humnabad on Sunday that the high-level team that is investigating the accident would also suggest steps to check such incidents.

“A comprehensive set of measures will be initiated to avert accidents in future,” he said.

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