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Odisha Train Accident: 83 bodies await identification; distraught relatives clueless
Of the 288 dead persons, 205 bodies have been identified so far while another 83 await to be identified and handed over to their families
Bhubaneswar: With 83 unidentified bodies from Balasore triple train crash pilling up in different hospitals here, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar has started DNA sampling of the claimants. As many as 10 samples have so far been collected from the claimants, a senior official of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar said. Of the 288 dead persons, 205 bodies have been identified so far while another 83 await to be identified and handed over to their families. Chaos prevails in Odisha hospitals as the claimants of the bodies have to run from town to town and various morgues as a fool-proof identification system is yet to be in place. The biggest problem is in identifying the bodies as most of the faces were disfigured beyond recognition.
A claimant from Jharkhand on Tuesday alleged that they had on Monday identified the body of Upendra Kumar Sharma, but it was handed over to someone else on Tuesday. ''What is the point of doing DNA sampling if the body has been handed over to someone else. We had identified Upendra from the tattoo mark on his body,'' the relative said.
However, Dr Pravas Tripathy, Deputy Superintendent of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, said the bodies were being handed over after a detailed inquiry. It is a fact that more than one family have been claiming a single body and for that DNA sampling is being done. Most of the victims belonged to West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu besides Odisha. While 83 bodies are lying unclaimed, two different families claimed one body. As the bodies are in bad condition, the family members were facing difficulty in identifying, the officials said.
"We have submitted related documents to the local authority to claim our body. But someone else has lodged a complaint claiming the same body. So, we are unable to receive the body," said an old man from West Bengal.
Distraught relatives of passengers killed in the crash have lined up outside the AIIMS and many other hospitals in Bhubaneswar and Balasore respectively. The harrowing experience of the bereaved in search of their near and dear ones is truly heart wrenching. Every deceased has been photographed and tagged before the bodies were dispatched to morgues. The photos are being displayed in big screens for quick identification. Usman Ansari, who came from Bihar to collect the body of his brother-in-law, Kasim Mian, said he spent 24 hours on the road along with two friends. After reaching the site of the crash, they were told the bodies had been moved to Bhubaneswar. They rented a car to drive to the hospital, where Ansari was finally able to identify and collect his brother-in-law’s body.
Upendra Ram began searching for his son, Retul Ram, on Sunday after traveling about 850 km from Bihar. Retul, 17, was on his way to Chennai to find work, Ram said. After spending hours looking at photographs of the dead, Ram identified his son around Monday noon. “I just want to take the dead body and go back home. He was a very good son,” said Ram. Retul had dropped out of school to earn money for the family.
Scattered sheets of paper, with poems in Bengali professing love, were strewn on the tracks beside a mangled coach of the Coromandel Express as rescuers rummaged through belongings of the victims at the rail mishap site. The jottings on torn pages of a diary with sketches of elephants, fish and sun on the other side, were probably written during the leisure time of a passenger whose identity is not known as yet. Photographs of these pages have gone viral on social media. Till now no one has come forward to claim the poems or relationship with the poet, whose fate too is unknown, police officers said.