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Among the dead: 5 children of a family

Rukhsana and husband Rana Shaukat Ali lost five of their six children in the fire that killed 66 passengers of the Delhi-Attari Express on Sunday, reports Vidya Krishnan.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 04:25 IST

Rukhsana and husband Rana Shaukat Ali lost five of their six children in the fire that killed 66 passengers of the Delhi-Attari Express on Sunday.

Badly injured in one of the blasts, Rukhsana, 40, is now recovering in the burns ward of the Safdarjung Hospital in the capital. Shaukat, 46, too is being treated for burn injuries at the same hospital.

Five of their children — three boys and two girls, aged between four and 15 — are dead; the youngest, one-year-old Aksa, is battling for life. The family hails from Faislabad, Pakistan.

"There was a huge blast. There was smoke everywhere. Many people fell unconscious," says Rukhsana.

Shaukat has been told five of his children are dead. "He kept repeating that he saw his children burn to death," says Liaqat Ali, Shaukat's brother.

Liaqat had seen the family off at the railway station, and then left for his home in Ghaziabad. "I got to know about the blast at 9 a.m., when somebody called us," he says.

Aksa survived because her mother had been holding her at the time of the blast. "When the coach burst into flames, the parents ran and got down from the train but the children could not," says Jannat Ali, Shaukat's younger brother. "And Shaukat was not able to re-enter the coach and retrieve them."

Shaukat and his family had arrived in Delhi on January 23 to attend a wedding. Their visas expired on Sunday. "Since they had come after many years, they wanted to stay on in India till the last day," says Jannat.

Email Vidya Krishnan: vidya.krishnan@hindustantimes.com