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‘Mistaken identity’: Body of Mundka fire victim in Delhi handed over to family of another, cremated

As of now, police said reports of two of the 27 bodies are pending and the others have been identified.

Written by Arnav Chandrasekhar | New Delhi |
Updated: June 23, 2022 9:18:43 pm
Mundka fire, Body of Mundka fire victim, Delhi fire, Mundka fire news, Delhi news, Indian expressFire in the four-storey building in Mundka had left 27 people dead.

Sweety’s family had been waiting more than a month for her body. The 32-year-old was among 27 people who were killed in a fire at a commercial building in Mundka in May, which left several bodies charred beyond recognition and required DNA tests to identify them. On Thursday, they were grief stricken to learn that she had already been cremated – by another victim’s family who was mistakenly given her body.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Sweety’s brother-in-law Ratan Singh said they thought her body was among those that were yet to be identified. “What is there to be done now? Somebody else has cremated her. We waited so long only to realise that there is no body anymore… We do not even know who to blame… The authorities should take some responsibility; they were conducting the DNA tests and could have checked to see if the correct bodies were given,” he said.

The family of Ranju Devi (32), who had received Sweety’s body, was shocked at the turn of events. Her husband Santosh said, “We had already cremated the body thinking that it was Ranju. Then we received a call from police telling us that we must have taken the wrong body, and that Ranju was still in the mortuary.

Devi’s body was handed over to them during the day after DNA test results confirmed her identity. “This has been very hard for our five children. We have taken her body to the ghat. Once the proper ceremonies are done, we will cremate her finally,” said Santosh, who works as a labourer.

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On the mix-up, DCP (Outer) Sameer Sharma said: “The FSL report has come which states that the body in the mortuary is of Ranju Devi… It is a case of mistaken identity.”

According to police, after the fire on May 13, eight bodies were identified based on facial features, jewellery and clothes and handed over to the families. One of them was tagged as Devi’s. Samples were later collected of all 27 bodies – including even those identified – to reconfirm and make sure there was no misidentification.

DCP Sharma said: “While DNA samples of seven families matched, Ranju’s sample didn’t match with that of her son. We then asked Ranju’s parents and other family members to give blood samples…”

On June 20, police said DNA reports were awaited for six bodies. “The families claimed them as the bodies of victims Geeta, Monika, Nisha, Parveen, Soni and Sweety. We had taken blood samples of their families on June 16,” said the DCP.

On Thursday, police found that one of the six bodies was Ranju’s.

Police said Sweety and Ranju were of the same age and had identical jewellery and clothes on them. They worked as helpers at the building.

As of now, police said reports of two of the 27 bodies are pending and the others have been identified.

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