Hotel Arpit Palace fire: 19-year-old hopes the only unidentified body is not his father’s
In the Hotel Arpit Palace fire, only one remains to be identified and a DNA test will be done to confirm the identity of the dead person.Updated: Feb 14, 2019 14:10 IST
Nineteen-year-old Himanshu , who goes by a single name, is facing a traumatic situation. His father,Lal Chand, a supervisor at the Hotel Arpit Palace, has been missing since the fire started at Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh early Tuesday and, according to police, there is the body of a man yet to be unidentified. He does not believe that the body is his father’s.
“I have been to the mortuary around a dozen times so far since Tuesday, but there is nothing on the body that can help me confirm it as that of my father. I want to believe he is still alive,” Himanshu, a graduate student, said.
His only comfort is that the authorities are not hurrying him. “We are in the process of performing a DNA test to confirm whether the dead man is indeed my father,” he said.
However, what has dimmed Himanshu’s hopes is that for nearly 36 hours since the tragedy, no other family has come forward to claim the body. “There is only one unidentified body and only one missing person. Each time we feel optimistic, that fact comes back to haunt us,” Himanshu’s cousin, Jatin (goes by single name), said.
The body was among two of the 17 dead that remained unidentified on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, one of them was identified as Rahul Sheikhpura, a 50-year-old resident of east Delhi’s Karkardooma. “Sheikhpura worked in the drugs control department of the Delhi government. He was at the hotel to meet a friend,” a police officer said.
For Himanshu, it was by chance that he got to know of his father’s disappearance early Tuesday. He was on the way to his college around 8am when he passed by the burning building.
“When I got to know that the fire was at Arpit Palace, I got worried. My father worked as a supervisor in the rooftop restaurant and he was on the night shift. I immediately called him on his cellphone, but it was switched off,” Himanshu said.
Thereafter, he visited nearly half-a-dozen hospitals throughout Tuesday. “On Tuesday afternoon, my father’s phone was switched on briefly and someone received the call for 10 seconds. But the phone was switched off again and has remained so since then,” Himanshu said.
The arms, legs, face and clothes of the unidentified body have been charred beyond recognition. “There was nothing by which I could identify the body,” Himanshu said.
Of the 17 killed in the fire, three were of a family from Kerala, three Myanmar tourists, an IRS officer, a lawyer, a chef and three persons from Tamil Nadu.
Of the three from Tamil Nadu, two were businessmen— Nand Kumar, 34, and Aravinth Sukumaran, 35. The third person was a 52-year-old doctor, Shankar Narayan Sheshadri. They were all unrelated and had chosen the Delhi hotel for their brief stay. The bodies of the businessmen were found in the corridors while the doctor’s was in his room.