Dera casualties: No names, 32 dead were just numbers for two days | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Dera casualties: No names, 32 dead were just numbers for two days

The violence after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had left 32 people dead, including four women and a minor. All died because of bullet injuries. 

punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2017 11:43 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
A security personnel walks past burning vehicles set alight by rioting followers of religious leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim of Dera Sacha Sauda who was convicted of rape in Panchkula on August 25.
A security personnel walks past burning vehicles set alight by rioting followers of religious leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim of Dera Sacha Sauda who was convicted of rape in Panchkula on August 25. (AFP)

Body Number 13. This is how he was being addressed by the hospital staff, until his father traced him and gave the corpse lying unclaimed for two days an identity. Body no. 13 was 22-year-old Manish, son of Suresh Kumar from Karnal district. 

While Suresh was claiming the body of his young son at Panchkula Civil Hospital, another body number was given an identity by his father. On Sunday, one body after another got an identity as families of 24 dera followers reached the hospital in search of their loved ones who did not reach home after Friday’s violence. 

The violence after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had left 32 people dead, including four women and a minor. All died because of bullet injuries. 

Recalling the Friday night, Dr Sunil Gambhir, forensic expert, said, “That day our staff worked on a war footing. One body was coming after another. The major task was to give identity to these bodies. They were given numbers 1,2, 3 and so on and along with it we wrote injury marks, things recovered from them. That was a challenging job.”

“Then we did not have the place to keep these bodies. That was another challenge. According to the protocol, we have only four cold chambers to keep bodies. During the night, when curfew was imposed we arranged 20 ice slabs and two air-conditioned rooms were vacated to keep these bodies,” said Dr Sunil. 

The staff charged mobiles of the deceased throughout the night so that police can call their families and identify the bodies. While till Saturday night seven bodies were claimed, the number increased to 24 till Sunday evening. 

Didn’t get any support from other hospitals

“The maximum limit to do a post-mortem in any hospital is four per day. But given the unprecedented situation, we performed 20 post-mortems in a day,” said Dr Sunil Gambhir. 

He formed 20 teams, of two persons each, to perform the post-mortems. 

He said, “We are very disappointed as when it came to conducting post-mortems, we did not get any cooperation from any hospital in Chandigarh. PGIMER officials even send the body, which died during treatment. Nobody shared the workload,” said the doctor. 

He said, “I am the only forensic expert in the state and managing this place but there are five to seven forensic experts at PGIMER, but nobody bothered.”