Millennium Post

Between morgues & burn wards, lie uncertainty

Between morgues & burn wards, lie uncertainty

New Delhi: As more than 200 officials from different emergency services tried their best to tame the inferno raging in and engulfing the narrow lanes of Delhi-6 on Sunday morning, hundreds of friends, wellwishers and family members of the victims started running from burn wards to the mortuary and back in the hopes that at least they could identify the dead bodies of their loved ones if not manage to find them alive. Large groups of villagers started arriving from in and around Delhi to the news of either family or friends being stuck in the factory fire at North Delhi's Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road, which claimed 43 lives and left 16 injured.

"Everyone I know from my family and my village — around 10-11 people — were working in the factory that caught fire. I've just identified four of their bodies in the mortuary now and the rest are just missing without a trace," 19-year-old Mohammad Rizwan said trying to hold back tears. Rizwan's 65-year-old grandfather was a jacket cutting-master in the factory and was supposed to meet him at his Nabi Kareem home this week along with three other uncles. All four died in the fire, Rizwan said.

Rizwan's grandfather had been working in the jacket factory in Anaj Mandi for more than 10 years and had brought in his nephews to work in the same factory around five years ago. Speaking to Millennium Post outside the LNJP Hospital, Rizwan said that all of his loved ones used to work, sleep, eat and live in the factory along with all the workers in the building.

On the other hand conversations outside the LNJP mortuary revolved around the uncertainty of not knowing whether a loved one is dead, alive or still trapped. Mohammad Mukhtar Alam (45) broke down outside the mortuary gate and said that he had finally been able to identify one of his cousins, Jahid (31), who is survived by his wife and three young children. "Two of my friends are currently admitted and two are still missing," he said, adding that no amount of consoling could stop him from thinking about whether his loved ones might still be trapped in the debris.

Another large group of people arrived at LNJP Hospital on Sunday afternoon from a small village in Bihar's Sitamarhi district to see their friends and families who were working in the jacket factories of the Anaj Mandi. Noor Mohammad, a Delhi-based relative of one of the deceased said that 70-year-old Ailoon, who was like a grandfather to him had died along with his 30-year-old son-in-law Mohammad Abbas, both of whom worked together and lived in the factory building. Noor went on to say that one of his other friends, Mustafa is currently admitted with burn injuries on his hand.

Moreover, there were hundreds waiting patiently outside the mortuary just to get a chance to identify someone inside; hoping that their loved ones are not there and at the same time also hoping that their family members are at least found.

Abhinay Lakshman

Abhinay Lakshman

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