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Anxious people visit mortuary in desperate search for those missing since riots

New Delhi, Mar 01 :  With a photograph of her youngest brother in her hand, Nabi Jan frantically went around the GTB Hospital mortuary on Sunday, hoping that he was not among those killed in the northeast Delhi communal violence.

A woman, whose 19-year-old son has been missing from northeast Delhi’s Mustafabad area, fell unconscious after seeing a corpse at the mortuary. Her family later confirmed that her son’s body was not in there.

Jan, whose younger brother Salman, 25, has been missing since the riots, was one among the desperate people looking for some clue about him.

“Salman worked as a labourer and had gone to Gokalpuri on February 26. He kept a phone, but it is switched off and there is no clue of what happened to him,” Jan said.

None of the bodies in the mortuary was of his brother, he said.

Jan also spoke to a group of young lawyers and a team of the Shahdara District Legal Services Authority (SDLSA) at a help desk, providing information and other help to the relatives of the missing persons.

“God knows what will happen to Salman’s two sons, aged eight and six years, as their mother is already dead. I have lodged a complaint with police but there is no information about him,” Jan said.

Sources said till Saturday six bodies were unidentified at the mortuary, out of which two were identified and claimed. One body was charred and three others were also unidentified.

Naeem, 45, a resident of Jafrabad who worked as a book binder, went missing during the riots on February 24.

“He had gone to old Delhi for some work. He told over phone that situation was not good and he was near Usmanpur, Pehla Pushta. I have searched in many other hospitals and now came here,” said Naeem’s brother Najmuddin.

Mumtaj, a high court lawyer, who is helping people along with her colleagues Farhan, Faraz and a team of volunteers, said record was being maintained by them to find about those missing.

“We are also helping people in the release of the identified bodies, besides arranging for immediate help needed by the families of the victims,” Mumtaj said.

Mamtesh Sharma, lawyer and paralegal volunteer Asha Mittal, manning the SDLSA help desk, said they were coordinating with hospital authorities and police to provide assistance to people seeking information about their missing family members.

“So far, around 35 families contacted us. Some identified bodies, others were directed by us to look into the wards where injured are admitted. Also, we are coordinating with police to find out if anyone missing was detained by them,” Sharma said.

The relatives of Mohsin Ali, 22, Mohammad Mohsin, Feroz Ahamad and Mohammad Arshad, who were missing since the riots, were also present at the mortuary to take a look at the unidentified bodies with a hope to find them.

The communal violence in Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar, Bhajan Pura, Yamuna Vihar and Mustafabad areas of northeast Delhi claimed at least 42 lives and left over 200 injured.

A large number of properties have been damaged. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel.

254 FIRs registered, 903 people arrested or detained

New Delhi, Mar 01 :  The Delhi Police has registered 254 FIRs and arrested or detained 903 persons in connection with the northeast Delhi violence, a senior officer said on Sunday.

Forty-one of the cases were registered under the Arms Act, they said.

According to police, they did not receive any PCR calls of rioting in the last four days.

The situation in the riot-affected areas is under control, a senior police official said.

DNA test remains family’s last hope to identify body of 22-year-old

New Delhi, Mar 1 :  “People are being dragged out of vehicles and attacked”, these were the last words of 22-year-old Mohammad Shahbaz to his brother on phone before he went missing on February 25.

His family now fears the worst.

“My brother Mohammad Shahbaz worked as a welder and lived with his family at Loni in Uttar Pradesh. He had gone to Guru Nanak Eye Centre in Delhi on February 25 for treatment as a spark during welding work injured his eye,” Matloob said.

“I last talked to him around 2.25 pm (on February 25) when he said he was in Karawal Nagar. He was very scared and told me a mob was dragging people out of vehicles and attacking them. He said he would walk for safety,” he said.

Unaware of the whereabouts of Shahbaz, Matloob says that the family has requested for a DNA test of a badly burnt body found in Karawal Nagar.

“The body is badly burnt. It was found from Karawal Nagar. I think a DNA test will make it clear if it was that of Shahbaz,” said Matloob who reached the mortuary at GTB Hospital here to identify his brother.

Shabaz’s friend Saqib, who was also present at the mortuary, said missing complaints were filed at Karawal Nagar police station as well as Loni in Ghaziabad.

A police officer said the process of conducting DNA test of the “charred remains” has been started.

“There is not much left of the body except a portion of the hip bone and a piece of skull. It will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for the DNA test with sample from Shahbaz’s relatives,” he said.

Matloob said the police have asked him to bring his parents to the hospital on Monday.

‘He went out to buy milk for kids’

New Delhi, Mar 01 :  Carrying a toddler in her arms, Sunita on Sunday waited outside the mortuary of GTB hospital where postmortem of her husband Prem Singh, who was killed in the communal violence in northeast Delhi, was being conducted.

The 27-year-old rickshawpuller, who lived in Brijpuri, was killed in the riots on last Tuesday, as he stepped out of his home to buy milk for his kids.

“I have no idea what happened to him. I was told by neighbours that he was killed in the riots. He had gone to buy milk for the children around 7.30 pm on Tuesday,” Sunita said, choking back the tears.

Her husband’s body was found near the Welcome police station, Nisha, a neighbour who was accompanying Sunita, said.

Singh’s body was identified by his sister Savita.

With moist eyes, family members of Aqil also waited outside the mortuary.

He was a resident of Chand Bagh, one of the worst-hit areas in northeast Delhi.

“Aqil used to clean vehicles. He left home around 10 am on Wednesday. His body was later found in a drain between Shiv Vihar and Johri Pur,” Aqil’s brother-in-law Chand Babu said.

He is survived by his wife Zayra and four children.

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