Mundka fire tragedy: After nearly two weeks, families still wait for remains of their loved ones

A view of  factory where a fire broke out at Mundka in New Delhi.

A view of factory where a fire broke out at Mundka in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

It has been nearly two weeks since the Mundka fire tragedy but the families of many victims are still awaiting a closure as the remains of their loved ones are yet to be handed over to them.

At least 27 people were killed and many others injured in the massive blaze that ripped through a four-storey building in outer Delhi's Mundka on May 13.

The Delhi Police had earlier said it has collected biological samples of 26 people, whose family members are believed to be killed in the fire, for DNA profiling.

Of the 27 bodies that were recovered, only eight bodies have been identified. The family of 22-year-old Monika, one of the victims of the tragedy, said since the remains of her body has not been handed over to them, they don't know when they will be able to perform rituals and say their "last goodbye" to her.

Family members of many other victims said they have become "exhausted" as despite their countless visits to hospitals and police stations, they are yet to get remains of their loves ones.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) Sameer Sharma said they are expecting the results of forensic tests by next week. Monika's father said they have accepted the bitter fact that their daughter is not with them anymore.

"Now we are being forced to fight for her remains," he said. "We want to say goodbye properly to her and perform all the rituals so that her soul can rest in peace," he added.

Monika was the eldest daughter of the Vijayalaxmi Tiwari and Ram Tiwari (name changed). The couple has four more children — three sons and one daughter.

Monika joined the factory in Mundka in Feburary and was earning ₹7,500 per month.

Her father said they gave their blood sample for DNA profiling on May 14, but since then, have not received any update.

"We are still waiting to hear from authorities. We have been paying visits to hospitals and police stations every day and nobody is ready to help. So many days have passed. We haven't gotten the remains of Monika," said her father who did not wish to be named.

Monika's mother hasn't slept properly ever since her daughter went missing. She just cries and longs for one last glimpse of her daughter, says Monika's father.

"Her mother is depressed, and her condition is not good. She is not eating and only when somebody forces her, does she take one or two bites. Every day and night, she cries and she is broken. During nights she goes out to cry as we all are sleeping. We find her sitting on the road inconsolably crying," the victim's father, who also broke down, said.

"My daughter was a great helping hand. She was earning ₹7,500 which is not much. I am an e-rickshaw driver. Since the incident, I have lost interest in work. I haven't earned a penny since then," he said.

Similar reactions were echoed by the family of Asha, another victim of the fire tragegy. As soon as the fire broke out her family rushed to the spot to save her.

However, they failed to find her. Since then, the family has been visiting the city hospital and police station to get her remains. Asha's brother broke down sharing his family's plight.

"It is very difficult every day. We are worried. We also need some kind of peace. The home doesnt feel like home," he said.

"At least we should get the bodies of our loved ones so that we can perform the last rights to let her soul rests in peace. Everyday, we are running here and there impatiently to receive the body," he added.

A senior official from Forensic Science Laboratory in Rohini here said the examination time for forensic sample is longer in "such cases".

"We have received over 100 samples and they have been taken up for examination. The examination time is longer is such cases," the official said.

"Multiple samples are under examination currently and it may generate many reports. It is being done as per protocol and it is a multi-step procedure be it isolating it or further cleaning the samples, it takes time," the official added.

However, all this delay in getting the body of their loved one has left Sweety's family frustrated. Her husband Manoj Kumar said they have lost a member of their family and now they are being "tortured" "We are still trying to overcome her loss. But they should understand that we are going through a lot. I dont know why no body is listening to them," the official added.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2022 9:31:23 am |