Durgapur sailor body confirmed through DNA test

Body of Malay Haldar, the Indian Navy sailor from Durgapur who was in the ill-fated INS Sinhurakshak that exploded and sank at the naval dockyard in Mumbai on August 14, has been identified and is likely to be handed over to the bereaved family in Durgapur.

indian-navy-sailor-malay-haldar-durgapur
Indian Navy Sailor Malay Haldar in uniform

Six out of the ten bodies recovered out from the sunken and gutted INS Sindhurakshak have been identified after DNA examinations, while the process of examining the remaining three DNA samples is under way. Submarine INS Sindhurakshak exploded and sank at the naval dockyard in Mumbai on 14th August carrying 18 sailors aboard.

The six sailors are Malay Haldar from Durgapur, Vishnu V from Pallippad in Alappuzha, Liju Lawrence from Nevyar in Thiruvananthapuram, Seetaram Badapalli and Rajesh Tootika from Andhra Pradesh and Kewal Singh from Udhampur.

The bodies of four sailors, Liju Lawrence, Tootika Rajesh, Vishnu V and Seetaram Badapalli – all of non-officer cadre — were handed over to their relatives late on Thursday night from the mortuary of JJ Postmortem Center in Mumbai.

Since the families of Singh and Haldar have left Mumbai, the navy will make arrangements to send the bodies to their respective hometowns, sources said. They are presently kept at the JJ morgue.

Malay Halder’s family members are however awaiting official confirmation from Navy about the identification and also about the formalities of receiving the body of their son – where and when.

The DNA results have been given to Cuffe Parade and Colaba police stations, and a copy was submitted to Navy hospital INHS Asvini on Tuesday.

The DNA reports were prepared after minutely studying the femur and tooth samples extracted from the bodies during postmortem procedures, and matching them with the 36 blood samples of relatives of the 18 Navy men feared killed in the mishap on August 14.

Scientists at FSL’s biology division are busy cross-verifying the remaining three DNA samples with that of the remaining 24 blood samples of the kin.

Meanwhile, the department of forensic medicine and toxicology, Grant Medical College, has started work on conducting diatom tests on samples collected from the nine bodies, to establish whether the cause of death was drowning.

Official sources said that a full guard of honour has been planned for those who died aboard the ill-gated submarine INS Sindhurakshak, at their hometowns. As per tradition, the honour is held just before a soldier’s body is cremated. And in this case, the ceremonial honour will be held at the native places of the sailors.

Malay Halder’s family lost all hopes of seeing Malay alive when they realised the magnitude of the explosion. Now, their only hope and prayer was at least to receive Malay’s body. The prayer seems to have been heard this time.

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