Waiting for closure say Mundka victims’ kin

Family member of a missing person breaks down at the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Mangolpuri, New Delhi

Family member of a missing person breaks down at the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Mangolpuri, New Delhi | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Two days after the massive fire in Mundka, in which 27 people lost their lives, Akbar is still looking for his wife who used to work in the four-storey commercial building that went up in flames.

Only eight bodies have been identified so far. The police have collected biological samples of several people, whose family members are believed to have died in the incident, for DNA profiling. Mr. Akbar is one of them.

He says those who have been handed the bodies of their deceased kin have received some form of closure. Families like his still are still hoping against all odds.

“As long as forensic reports identifying my wife’s body don’t come, I still have hope that she may be alive somewhere…the authorities are saying that the report will take at least two to three days…I will sit outside the mortuary till the report comes,” Mr. Akbar said.

He has three children, the youngest of them is two years old. “She had been working at the company for two years now and was satisfied with her job even though the salary was not much. Our youngest child does not know about his mother’s fate. Who will explain it to him?” he said.

Holding his 21-year-old daughter Monica Tiwari’s photograph outside the building where she worked, Vijay Tiwari, an e-rickshaw driver, talks about his daughter’s aspirations.

“It had only been three months since she started working here. She used to pack the CCTV cameras. Monica used to love her job and liked working here. She had finished school and wanted to study further to get a better job. But due to my economic condition, her dream remained unfulfilled,” said Mr. Tiwari.

He added that he and his family have been running from pillar to post, constantly checking with the police and the hospital authorities whether any other body had been identified.

“I don’t know how long it will take to identify my daughter. My family and I have been travelling in my e-rickshaw throughout the day, hoping that Monica’s body is identified soon and we can take back the body to conduct the last rites,” Mr. Tiwari said.

Sobbing inside the e-rickshaw, Monica’s mother, Vijaylakshmi, recalled how her daughter’s happiness knew no bounds when she last spoke to Vijaylakshmi a day before the incident.

“She had just received her salary and sounded so relieved. She was always the one who worked extra hours to earn more to help meet the family’s expenses,” Ms. Vijaylakshmi added.

Pankaj Kumar has also been spending his time outside the mortuary, trying to find out if his 21-year-old sister’s body has been identified. “Nisha was the sole breadwinner of the family. Her salary used to run a family of five, including her mother and two sisters,” Kumar said. His only wish now is to be handed over his sister’s body so that he could perform her last rites.

Moni, the younger sister of 21-year-old Pooja who has been missing since the incident, said: “She was the eldest sister among the three of us. Our father passed away in 2012. So, it had come to her to run the family. She was running the household while pursuing an undergraduate course. I remember her as the one who always helped anyone in need. I hope she was doing the same during the incident too”.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2022 2:54:13 am |