Elphinstone road stampede: Some were headed to work, others out shoppinghttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/elphinstone-road-stampede-some-were-headed-to-work-others-out-shopping-4867757/

Elphinstone road stampede: Some were headed to work, others out shopping

Two employees of the Maharashtra Labour Welfare Board, Shraddha Kishor Warpe (24) and Meena Walhekar (34), were walking towards the office together. Their bodies were found after the crowd cleared.

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Relatives of victims at KEM hospital. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

IN KEM Hospital’s emergency ward, the only item Bharti Arya found that belonged to her niece, Hiloni Dedhia (22), was a pink purse, its belt torn. She carried it from the helpdesk to the casualty ward, from the mortuary to corridors where the injured lay, hoping that someone would know where the purse’s owner was. She described Dedhia, the young woman was dressed in purple, the designated colour of the day for Navaratri and had left home in Ghatkopar for a bank in Parel where she worked. Her mother got a call from Dedhia’s phone and she had said she was injured and at KEM hospital.

But Dedhia’s aunts and an uncle had to spend the better part of two hours running around looking for her. They rechecked the dead bodies and finally identified Dedhia’s body. “She just completed her degree in Chartered Accountancy last year and had taken up a job. Who could have known that a normal day would end up like this? We were looking for a suitable boy for her to get married,” said Bharti.

Among the dead was Suresh Jaiswal, a 45-year-old fruit seller, who had travelled from Andheri to Parel to buy flowers. Two women, homemakers Sumalata Shetty and Sujata Alwa from Kanjurmarg (East), were going to the Dadar flower market to buy flowers for Dussehra when they were killed in the stampede.

Two employees of the Maharashtra Labour Welfare Board, Shraddha Kishor Warpe (24) and Meena Walhekar (34), were walking towards the office together. Their bodies were found after the crowd cleared. Shraddha had travelled with her father Kishor from Vitthalwadi. While he left for work, she stayed back and waited for Walhekar. Pradnya Bhate, her colleague, said: “We got a call from other workers who were ahead of them. It is a shock for her brother Rupesh who identified her body.”

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The body of Meena, a resident of Ulhasnagar, was identified by a family friend, Naresh Sonariya. “Her brother heard about the news and tried to call her but no one answered. He asked me to go and check. I tried calling her. After a while, a police constable answered the call and asked us to go to KEM,” he said.

Deceased, Ankush Jaiswal, a 34-year-old software engineer from Thane, was on his way to work when he got caught in the rush. It has been just a month that he got a permanent job. He is survived by his 65-year-old mother, wife and a 10-year-old son. “His mother raised him and his brother paid for his education by selling vegetables on streets. Their dreams are shattered,” said Pankaj Jaiswal, Ankush’s cousin.

Cousins Maqsood Alam (40) and Shakeel (30) had come to Parel for work, said their cousin Tabrez Muqaddam. Alam has four children, the eldest aged eight years. “Their death has killed their family,” said Muqaddam.

It was supposed to be 38-year-old Teresa Fernandes’s last day in Elphinstone and her advertising firm had plans to relocate her to Andheri. She has a nine-month-old baby and a seven-year-old and had resumed work few weeks ago after her maternity leave. Family members said she used to walk to her office from her home in Dadar’s Bhavani Shankar road. On Friday, she wore a sari and decided to take a train since it was raining. Her brother Danny Fernandes said the office planned to celebrate her last day in Parel. She got stuck at the foot overbridge. Her husband Richard said he had to fight with the security as several politicians were at the hospital and victims’ relatives were asked to step aside.