Batala Blast: Family’s Trauma Worsens As Admin Loses Track of Man’s Body
Batala, GURDASPUR—A missing corpse has added to the trauma of the family members of those killed in the explosion at an unregistered firecracker factory in Punjab’s Batala on Wednesday.
The body of 46-year-old Satnam Singh, a factory worker who died in the blast, has gone missing from Civil Hospital at Batala on Thursday, his family alleged.
Satnam’s son Ravi has been trying to trace his father’s body since morning.
“I was getting married next month and so my father changed his job recently as he was offered Rs 2000 more than the last pay. It was only his first day on the job,” a sobbing Ravi told HuffPost India.
The family, he said, got to know about Satnam’s death only after seeing a photograph of his body in a local newspaper.
“It was shocking to see him lying lifeless in a pool of blood. No one informed us earlier. We rushed to Batala immediately and reached the Civil Hospital to collect the body, only to confront clueless officials. None of the three bodies left to be identified is of my brother,” said Manjeet Singh, Satnam’s brother.
The family also accused the district administration of inhuman treatment. They said that when they tried the special helpline number set up by the district administration for blast victims and requested the operator to help track the body, they claimed helplessness in the matter.
“One of the officials even told us that during the rescue operations, many private vehicles took injured victims to nearby hospitals and someone may have taken Satnam’s body by mistake. How can someone give such an irresponsible response?” asked Ravi.
The family has also accused the district police of forcing them to identify some other unidentified body as that of Satnam’s.
“Why should we identify a body whose face was crushed completely in the blast, unlike that of my father, who was easily identified by his face in the photograph published in various media reports?” said Ravi.
The district administration initially denied having removed Satnam’s body from the site but later accepted the lapse and began trying to trace it from nearby hospitals and cremation grounds.
Confirming the news of the missing body, Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujjwal told HuffPost India that efforts are on to track Satnam’s body.
“We are scrutinising the records of all the dead bodies handed over to their respective families since yesterday. Also, the families will be shown pictures of all the bodies retrieved from the blast site,” said Ujjwal.