A day after this paper reported about gold ornaments being taken from the bodies of the stampede victims at Elphinstone Road station, the Mumbai Police claim they have returned the valuables to the families. They said the gold was removed by KEM Hospital's ward boys prior to the post-mortem.
On Saturday, mid-day had reported on the outrage of the families of stampede victims Sumalata Shetty and Sujata Alwa, when they found gold jewellery missing from the bodies.
Sumalata's younger sister, Supriya Shetty, said "Four policemen from Dadar police station visited my sister's home in plain clothes on Saturday night and returned her wrist watch, earrings, bangles, anklet, and rings. They also returned Sujata Alva's earrings, ring and nose ring."
The family said that the mangalsutra and toe rings from both bodies were yet to be found. The cost of each mangalsutra is around Rs 95,000. When mid-day enquired with the police, they claimed that the said ornaments might have gone missing during the stampede. They added that the family can register an FIR with the local police.
"The police did not even inform us about the jewellery while handing over the body. They only handed over Sujata's cellphone to her relatives," said Sumalata's family friend, Ganesh Shetty, adding, "If we had not tweeted about it and the news had not been published, we might not have got our jewellery back."
The relatives added, however, that the railways were prompt in giving the Rs 5-lakh compensation while handing over the body.
"The ornaments were removed by ward boys of KEM Hospital and handed over to the Dadar police station. Another deceased person's effects are with us; their relatives have been contacted and intimated," said ACP Sunil Deshmukh.
The police also managed to recover the valuables of the other deceased.
First responders on the scene saved several lives
Among the heroes who helped those injured in the Elphinstone Road stampede were the first responders. Twelve ambulances from the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) 108 managed to stabilise unconscious commuters. "The first responders attended to complaints of uneasiness, suffocation and other injuries.
This saved many lives," said Dr Dnyaneshwar Shelke, COO, Bharat Vikas Group, the company that operates the EMS ambulances. Dr Amol Pandit, who was part of the operation, said, "Our first job was to stabilise them, offer water and check their blood pressure, among other things. They were then shifted to KEM Hospital. Many had blunt trauma injuries and pain in the legs." The death toll now stands at 23.
Rs 1.9 lakh
Value of two mangalsutras belonging to two of the deceased that are still missing
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