The sound of Saturday’s serial blasts has died out, but their bloody aftermath continues in the city’s hospitals.
At Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where most of the blast victims were rushed on Saturday, the next 24 hours meant an excruciating journey of hope and despair. Hope for those whose relatives’ names figured on the list of the injured and despair for those who waited to take the bodies of their loved ones home.
Hindustan Times kept a constant vigil at the hospital, watching the chaos outside the Trauma Centre as relatives arrived much before the victims and began a frantic search for their loved ones. Chandramati (40) was one such hapless woman running around the hospital in a bid to trace her dead husband, Ganga Prasad.
Prasad had stepped out of their home near Gaffar Market with his nephew when the first bomb went off. Chandramati had not seen him since. His name figured on the list of dead but his body was missing.
She visited all the hospitals but to no avail. “Won’t I be able to see my husband’s face one last time?” wailed Chandramati.
For others like Ram Chandar Singh Negi and Lalita Negi, the night was unbearably long. Huddled together with friends and family, the couple waited for the hospital to hand over the body of their daughter Babita (22), who was brought dead to the hospital.
But not all present were a figure of sorrow. For some, the break of dawn meant discharge of their kin from the hospital.
“My son has injuries on the right side of his face, but the doctors say they will be able to discharge him in the morning. I am eagerly waiting for sunrise so that I can take him home,” said Kanta Rani, a widow.
With the day, however, the quiet suffering of the night was replaced by the impatience and anger of grieving relatives.
People who had been waiting out the entire night to catch a glimpse of their loved ones wanted to get over the ordeal. And those who had been unable to trace a missing relative vented their anger on the police and hospital staff.
“After keeping us waiting the entire night, no one is telling us when they will release the bodies,” said Negi.
For Ajit Kaur, time ticked slowly as she spent the day trying to trace her 45-year-old son Saranjit Singh Bhatia, who was missing after the Gaffar Market blast. “The day has gone by and we still don’t know where he is. We have looked up all the lists and visited all the hospitals,” said Kaur. The frail 70-year-old from Baljeet Nagar was teary eyed, but resolved on finding her son.
The last of the unidentified bodies at RML hospital was finally claimed by Sohan Devi’s extended family late in the afternoon.
Carrying the photograph of 40-year-old Ramlal, his nephew Roshan said, “He had come just a day earlier to take some goods to Ajmer, where he had put up a small shop at a fair. We have not yet informed his wife of his death.”