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Harrowing time for relatives

Prashant Pandey

NEW DELHI: After the big blast and the subsequent blaze that left more than 40 people dead and 20 seriously injured at Sarojini Nagar market in South-West Delhi on Saturday evening, relatives and family members of the victims had a tough time trying to get information about them.

Hanuman Prasad Pandey had rushed to the market after he heard of the blast. His 14-year-old cousin, Sunil Kumar Shukla, used to work at Vicky Collections, a shop near Shyam Juice Corner, where the first cooking gas cylinder exploded. But even after an hour's search, Pandey was not able to spot Sunil.

Someone then advised him to go to Safdarjung Hospital to find out if his brother was among the victims. Not that he could have immediately succeeded at the hospital in ascertaining his brother's whereabouts. The police and the security guards at the burns wards of the hospital had barred access to the wards.

While that was meant to ensure that the doctors and the para-medics, many of whom were called to duty in the wake of the emergency, could attend to the victims, there was at the same time absolutely no arrangement to provide even basic information to those frantically looking for their near and dear ones.

K.S. Samta had been at the hospital since 6-30 p.m. to find out if his friend's wife and her two children were among those brought there

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