For Indo-Tibetan Border Police jawan David Raj, who lost five members of his family in the speeding inferno that coach S-11 of Tamil Nadu Express became on Monday, the battle with fate is not yet over.
Raj, posted in Delhi, rushed to Nellore station and claimed five bodies, but another family contested his claim over one body — his mother's. “It’s my mother. My ordeal will now be extended for at least two weeks till DNA tests confirm my claim,” he told reporters on Tuesday. Raj said he identified his mother from the sari she was wearing.
He said he had bought it for her only a few days ago.
Raj had reached had taken the first morning flight to Chennai on Monday and left for Nellore with a prayer on his lips. His world crashed when he saw the charred bodies of his mother Elizabeth (47), wife Ponmani (29), daughters Rose Mary (4) and Jasmine (3), and brother-in-law Thavamani (25).
With his mother's body getting stuck by the counterclaim, Raj had to return to Chennai with four bodies.
Raj's family members were to head from Chennai to his native place in Tirunelveli.
Raj is not the only person who has to await DNA analysis to get the body of a loved one. S Mohammad Moideen from Tuticorin too will have to wait for scientific tests to ascertain his claim over the body of a relative.
Veena and her husband Venkatesh Babu were among the passengers in the S-11 coach. She escaped to safety along with her second child, but is still searching for her husband and elder son Aeshit.
“I checked all the bodies kept at the Nellore station and the government hospital mortuary. I am living on hope and little else,” she said.
Riaz Ahmed Bhat, 30, from Jammu and Kashmir was going to Annamalai University to attend an MPhil entrance test. It was not to be. Bhat’s younger brother Javed, an MBA student in Chennai, identified his body. “Our parents know about the accident, but we have not yet informed them of my brother’s death,” Javed told press persons. The blaze in the S-11 coach killed 32 passengers and injured 25.