More than 36 hours after the fire mishap took place in S11 coach of the Chennai-bound Tamil Nadu Express, several families of the victims were unable to get the bodies of their loved ones. Only 15 of them were handed over to the kin on Tuesday.
Though arrangements were made by the authorities to shift the bodies to their respective native places, bureaucratic delay forced many families to make their own arrangements. But a more harrowing and traumatic experience was in store for the kin of those whose bodies are yet to be identified.
The railway officials were unable to arrange for the identification of the charred victims despite repeated pleas. And in cases where people identified bodies with the help of belongings, the officials allegedly refused to hand over the bodies, telling families to go for DNA tests for confirmation, a process which would prolong their ordeal.
Families are in a hurry as they are concerned about the temporary morgue arranged at the Nellore government hospital. They alleged that the bodies kept there have already started decomposing due to frequent power cuts.
The officials were able to keep only nine bodies in the existing morgues in the government hospital and the Red Cross Society. However, district medical and health officer Dr Masilamani has promised that the remaining bodies would be shifted to Nellore government hospital from the temporary morgue to prevent decomposition.
Meanwhile, anxious relatives of missing passengers staged a protest at the Nellore railway station demanding information about their loved ones. They alleged that the railway officials were only helping the kin of the deceased and that they had advised them also to go for DNA tests to check whether the missing people were among the bodies kept in the morgue.
A large number of curious onlookers thronged the Nellore railway station to get a glimpse of the burnt S11 coach on platform number 4, despite restrictions. The situation went so out of control that the police officials had to resort to mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd.