Mumbai stampede: Hospital faces flak for scribbling numbers on foreheads of victims

Authorities at a hospital in Mumbai have come in for severe criticism for their "insensitivity" after the bodies of Elphinstone Road station stampede victims were marked with numbers on forehead and their pictures put up for public display.

Mumbai stampede: Hospital faces flak for scribbling numbers on foreheads of victims
Mumbai: Relatives check for the names of injured victims of the stampede at a Mumbai hospital (Photo: PTI)

Mumbai: Authorities at a hospital in Mumbai are facing flak for their "insensitivity" after the bodies of Elphinstone Road station stampede victims were marked with numbers on forehead and their pictures put up for public display.

Defending the decision, the KEM hospital said that the step was taken just to "avoid chaos". The hospital authorities added that it would have been a "big mental trauma to make the relatives see all 22 bodies" for identification.

They also added that they put up the pictures on display on a flex board to expedite the identification process to expedite the process of identification. "It would have become a chaotic and hectic exercise," said Dr Harish Pathak, head of the forensic science department of the KEM hospital.

"We took photographs of all the bodies, numbered them and displayed them to the relatives on a laptop screen" and a flex board thereafter, read the statement by a hospital. The numbers were erased after the autopsies, it said.

Dr Pathak said it would be unjustified and unwise to criticise the scientific method adopted by the hospital for "speedy, honourable and smooth identification" of the victims. 

However, the move created outrage on social media with people lambasting the hospital for its "insensitivity". 

At least 22 people were killed and over 30 injured in a stampede that took place on a narrow foot overbridge (FOB) linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations during heavy rain on Friday morning. The tragedy took place around 10.40 am when the FOB, used by lakhs of people to commute to the commercial area with high-end corporate and media offices, was heavily crowded.

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