AMONG those trying to help police identify the dead at the Pukhrayan Community Health Centre (CHC) on Sunday, where 50 of those injured in the train accident were brought, was a four-year-old.
As he lay on the bed with his fractured right leg in a cast, his right hand covered in bandages, and his left hand tightly clutching a toy car, a policeman held a phone close to Adarsh Pandey so that he could look at photos of some dead victims to identify if any of them was his father.
A sobbing Adarsh shook his head. Doctors said he was too traumatised to talk. The boy has been able to convey that he was travelling with father Ravindra Pandey and mother Pooja to Kanpur. “Kanpur ja rahe the, mausi ke yahan ja rahe the (We were going to Kanpur, to my aunt’s place),” he says softly, when asked.
However, CHC Superintendent Dr Sanjiv Kumar said, Adarsh hasn’t been able to say where he is from. He gave a school’s name that they are now trying to trace. “We think that school is in Bhopal. We have sent his photos to the Bhopal district magistrate. We hope to find someone who knows him,” said Kumar.
Ninety-seven injured passengers of the Indore-Patna Express accident were brought to the CHC, of whom 27 were referred to Kanpur, while 27 left hospital after treatment. Eight were declared brought dead while two died during treatment. Adarsh was brought along with three other children separated from their parents, early on Sunday morning. Families of two of them traced them to the hospital later and took them away. Adarsh and Aarohi Soni, less than 2 years old, remained.
Early Sunday evening, Aarohi’s cousin Ravi came to the hospital to get her. She was identified by her uncles in Kanpur through photos circulated on WhatsApp by authorities. Ravi said the family was going for the wedding of Aarohi’s uncle Rakesh in Varanasi. Rakesh died in the accident. Doctors say Aarohi, who had been crying, quietened down on seeing Ravi. Ravi said the girl was close to him. “The rest of the family was all travelling in S1. My ticket was not confirmed so I went to S11 to sleep.” While Ravi’s mother and sister are dead, his grandmother is missing.
Around 9 pm, Adarsh too finally got a visitor. Uncle Manoj Kumar Pandey came to the CHC after family members in their village, Maniarepur, Jaunpur district, saw the child’s photo on TV. Pandey said he rushed over from Rudrapur, Uttarakhand, after coming to know of the accident.
Adarsh identified him immediately.
“Ravindra was coming from Bhopal to Varanasi to attend a marriage. His wife and elder son Rishabh were with him. They are still missing. We have searched in Kanpur and Mati, but they are not there. His phone and luggage are with police,” said Pandey.
The doctors said they couldn’t discharge Adarsh or Aarohi without the district administration’s confirmation, and asked their relatives to come Monday morning.
Late on Sunday night, Aarohi and Adarsh finally fell asleep on adjoining beds, a nurse by their side.