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No closure for missing blast victims' kin

delhi Updated: Oct 29, 2010 02:23 IST
Vijaita Singh
Vijaita Singh
Hindustan Times
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Unlike others in this colony, Palani Ammal (50), a resident of East Kidwai Nagar in south Delhi, dreads Diwali.

Five years ago, just two days before the festival, Ammal saw her eldest son, S. Ganesan (29) for the last time. She is still waiting for him to return.

On October 29, 2005 three powerful bombs went off in Delhi, killing 67 people and injuring 225. There are at least eight victims who are still missing in police records — their bodies were never recovered.

Their families are not entitled to compensation at least for two more years. The law says a person is declared dead only if he or she goes missing continuously for seven years. After that, government will initiate an inquiry that will decide if they died in the blasts.

"It's difficult to prove people who are missing were actually present at the time of the blast,” says RS Sodhi, former judge at Delhi High Court. "That's why families of missing people can't claim compensation."

Even in the 9/11 tragedy in New York, at least 300 people went missing. As their bodies were not found, their families could not claim compensation.

"No one seems to know where my son is," says Ammal. "He had gone to Sarojini Nagar and never came back but I know he is alive." Ganesan, a CBI official, was the eldest of five siblings. "At least someone should tell us if he's dead or alive," says Saraswati, his sister.

Saleena Dass (61) lost her grandson (17) and daughter-in-law (36) in the blasts but is yet to hear news about her son Michael (41), a driver in the Russian Embassy. The three had gone to Sarojini Nagar.

"He was the only earning member. We now have to take care of his daughter Manisha (14)," says Dass. "With no compensation, it's a daily struggle."

Her immediate worry — to find Rs3,000 to pay for Manisha's winter uniform.

Diwali tragedy