Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

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Authorities said a DNA test is necessary to ensure that the process remains error-free.

Bhubaneswar:

For some families who have lost loved ones in the three-train accident in Odisha, the struggle to claim the bodies is continuing, and even worsening, four days on. NDTV met at least three families in Bhubaneswar today who claimed that the bodies of their loved ones have been released to someone else. 

Others have been waiting for days, only to be told by authorities that the bodies will be handed over only after the results of a DNA test are out. 

The Commissioner of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation said today that the delays are happening as they are getting some relatives who are not blood relations. 

Authorities said a DNA test is necessary to ensure that the process remains transparent and error-free. They have, however, refused to confirm the claims of the families who said that the bodies have been given to someone else and said that DNA tests are awaited. 

A grieving mother told NDTV at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhubaneswar that the body of her 16-year-old son has been identified but she has been informed that it has already been released to someone else. “They told me someone else has taken the body,” said 30-year-old Meera Devi from Nepal. 

West Bengal resident Zakaria Laskar also said he has been told by hospital authorities that the body of his uncle Abu Bakar Laskar has been claimed by a woman from Malda. “They are saying a woman from Malda has taken away the body. I don’t know the woman’s name. They are just telling me a woman has taken the body,” he said. 

Sheikh Abdul Ghani, who has lost a son and was at the morgue of the Bhubaneswar AIIMS with his younger son, said he has also been told something similar by the authorities. “About the body, they are saying that someone from Bihar has claimed the body. I cannot find my son’s body,” Mr Ghani, who is also from West Bengal, said. 

For some other families, it has been an unending wait. Gorachand Banerjee from South 24 Parganas in West Bengal has been at the AIIMS morgue since Monday to claim the body of his son, Subhashish Banerjee. Authorities have, however, told him it will be handed over only after the results of a DNA test are out.

Asked about the delays, Vijay Amruta Kulange, Commissioner of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, said, “We are getting some relatives who are not blood relations and that’s why some identification is not happening properly. This is the reason that AIIMS has taken a decision today to collect blood samples for DNA testing.” 

288 people were killed in the train accident, one of India’s worst in decades, and Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said today that 83 bodies are yet to be identified.

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