M A I N   N E W S

Victims thrown out to brave elements
House collapse survivors, victims’ kin moved out of community centre to host a wedding
Kumar Rakesh
Tribune News Service

Relatives break down at the mass cremation.
Relatives break down at the mass cremation. — AFP

New Delhi, November 17
After having put up the survivors of the tragic house collapse and family members of the deceased in a community centre, officials of the Delhi government today unceremoniously evicted them so that a wedding could be held. They hapless men, women and children were left to fend for themselves and forced to take shelter below trees when it started raining.

Worse, the stranded women and children, all of whom lost their relatives in the disaster, were not allowed to enter a park where authorities had erected a temporary shelter for them. Policemen and other officials inside told them that their presence would hinder work.

It was poignant to find dozens of women wailing while guests had a party across the wall. The miseries of the grieving persons were further compounded as it rained sharply in the afternoon and authorities --- speaking to them from inside a closed grilled gate and under the protection of umbrellas while the poor battled the downpour --- made little attempt to understand their woes.

“Two of my family members are missing. They are not letting us have a look at the bodies being dug up. They are quietly taking away all the dead,” Namita Sarkar, a young woman in her 20s, told The Tribune as large number of people swirled around the gate protected by dozens of cops. Apart from the missing relatives, whose chances of survival are remote if they are still trapped under the debris - Sarkar has lost three family members.

The grief and sorrow of those like Sarkar took an angry turn late rin the day. The survivors raised slogans and banged the gate in protest, prompting arrival of more cops. As it rained in the afternoon, the temporary shelter was wet and the survivors ran around soaked in water in hope of getting some news about their missing kin from the site of building collapse. Delhi government minister Mangat Ram Singhal came to the spot to show off the new shelter to the people but things only got worse for them as they were neither allowed in nor permitted to talk to officials presiding over the rescue operations from the safety of a closed park. If any help came, it was mostly from religious organisations and local residents who provided food and drinking water to the affected families

Probe ordered

Amid growing public outrage over the east Delhi building collapse, the state government today appointed a one-member judicial commission to probe the incident in which at least 67 persons were killed and 82 injured. The inquiry, to be conducted by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Lokeshwar Prashad, will probe all aspects of the incident including whether there was any procedural, administrative, and statutory lapses that led to the tragedy. — IANS

20 still feared buried

Rescue operations continued Wednesday at the site of the collapsed building to search for the 20 persons still feared buried under the debris, officials said. "Eighty-two persons are injured. Rescue operations are going on in the area," Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Dharmender Kumar told IANS. 





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