|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Meerut returning to normal; toll 42
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 13, 2006 23:17 IST
While the toll on account of Monday's blaze at a consumer fair in Meerut rose to 42 on Thursday, tempers were cooling down in the town where angry citizens had gone on rampage 24 hours earlier accusing officials of concealing and clandestinely disposing of dead bodies.
Five persons succumbed to burn wounds in different hospitals on Thursday taking the toll to 42.
According to a local official, "The fact that several marriages were being performed in Meerut today is an indication that normal life is fast returning to the town."
With four more of the "missing " persons located Thursday, only seven were left to be traced.
"Of the total list of 41 'missing' drawn up over the past three days, 32 were located alive, two were found among the dead so far. I am sure the remaining seven would also be tracked down," newly appointed Senior Superintendent of Police Navneet Sikera told this scribe.
A dynamic young police officer, known for his crackdown on criminals, Sikera has amazed all and sundry by extending an olive branch to the angered citizens.
"We have issued instructions to all cops down the line to restrain themselves from using any kind of force against protestors," he said.
"It is our job to make people understand that we are there to help them and not to harm or harass them," he added.
Meerut Divisional Commissioner Mohinder Singh has already ordered measures to ensure that people are convinced about the sincerity of the administration. "We will do our utmost to convince people that the administration has been absolutely transparent in its dealings and there is no question of concealment or disposal of bodies in any hidden manner," he pointed out.
With a view to assuage their misgivings about "missing" people, Singh and Sikera once again issued public appeals inviting complaints about anyone who was untraceable on account of the blaze .
"Officials have been detailed to check each of the 27 hospitals spread across Meerut, New Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad, where 112 burn victims were still lodged," he said.