Mumbai Stampede: Sena Men Attack Doctor Over Numbering of Bodies
The Shiva Sena members said they were angered by the KEM hospital’s decision to identify the victims of the stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone station by marking a number on their foreheads.
A stampede victim is carried on a stretcher at a hospital in Mumbai. (Photo: Reuters)
Mumbai: Five Shiv Sena members on Saturday attacked the forensic head of King Edward Memorial Hospital, Dr Harish Pathak, and tried to scribble a number on his forehead. Two of the attackers have been detained by the police and are being questioned.
The Sena members said they were angered by the hospital’s decision to identify the victims of the stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone station by marking a number on their foreheads. They said that marking the victims like this was disrespectful to them.
Dr Pathak, however, reasoned that it was only done this way so that the relatives of the dead would not have to see all the bodies. “We took photos of the faces of all the victims, numbered them and displayed it to the relatives,” he said, adding that hundreds of people had been streaming into the hospital looking for their relatives and it was already chaotic.
He said that once the victims were identified, the numbers were erased and the bodies were handed over. He said that the intention was only speedy identification and not to hurt anyone’s sentiments.
Following the attack, however, some hospital staff have refused to return to duty, fearing for their safety.
A police officer said that a case will be registered against the two men under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. “We have found membership identity-card of the Shiv Sena from one of the accused,” the officer said, adding that more persons involved in the assault are being identified.
Twenty-three people were killed and 39 others were injured after a stampede broke out on a crowded foot overbridge connecting Elphinstone and Parel stations in Mumbai on Friday morning. It is not yet clear what triggered the stampede, but eyewitness accounts suggest it was the heavy downpour coupled with the rumours of the bridge collapsing or a short circuit.
The government has ordered a high-level probe into the incident. A compensation of Rs 10 lakh was announced for kin of the deceased - Rs 5 lakh from Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Rs 5 lakh from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The stampede has once again put the focus on the outdated infrastructure of Mumbai’s rail network. Sachin Tendulkar, more than a 100 twitter users and two Shiv Sena MPs had warned that it was a tragedy waiting to happen, but the railways ministry failed to take action in time.
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