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Delhi Anaj Mandi fire: After victims’ families object, bodies of Bihar residents to be taken home by road

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Bowing to pressure from families of those killed in the Anaj Mandi fire on December 8, the Bihar government has decided to send the bodies of the State’s residents home by road instead of train.

Earlier, it was decided that the railways will carry the bodies in the seating-cum-luggage rake (SLR coach) on board the Swatantrata Senani Express over December 9 and 10.

However, the victims’ families objected to the arrangement, choosing to take the over 1,000 km journey by road instead.

Many of the 43 people who were killed in Sunday’s blaze were migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They were trapped in the building as they were asleep when the fire started.

“The families were not comfortable in taking the bodies by train, so we have decided to send them in ambulances. One ambulance will have two bodies.

“All the preparations were made for sending the bodies by train. Special coaches were also attached [to the train] but the family members [of victims] did not agree to let the bodies go by train,” said Kumar Digvijay, Joint Labour Commissioner, Bihar Bhavan.

“As and when post-mortem is being done, we are sending the bodies home. Till now 36 bodies of Bihar residents have been identified and we are trying to send them back to the State as soon as possible. The procedure is slow, but we are trying our best,” he said.

Zakir Hussain from Bihar’s Madhubanj area, who lost his brother Shakir in the fire, said though the Bihar government had made arrangements to take the bodies back home by train, there was no clarity about the procedure.

Mohammad Shamshir from Begusarai, whose neighbour Naveen Kumar (19) died in the fire, said it was not feasible to take the body in a train.

“We were not happy with travelling via a train. The train would stop at Samastipur station and our village Barijana is another 70 km from there,” Mr. Shamshir said.

According to officials, the resident commissioner of Bihar in Delhi had approached Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for help to send the bodies back home. Upon Mr. Goyal’s intervention, the Delhi Division had arranged for the coach.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:23:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-anaj-mandi-fire-after-victims-families-object-bodies-of-bihar-residents-to-be-taken-home-by-road/article30259922.ece

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