The grief-stricken family of Malay Halder, the navy sailor from Durgapur who is perceived to be dead in the INS Sindhurakshak multi blast on August 14, sounded upset over the fact that no one from the government or the local MLA had come to meet the family so far.
“I am not interested in any job offer or monetary compensation from the state. But the least it could have done is to stand by us in this hour of grief. My son worked to defend the country and I had expected the state government to co-ordinate with the navy and help us find out if he is alive,” said Mrinal Halder, father of Malay, an employee of the state-run Durgapur Projects Limited. “We had expected more sympathy from the government,” he added.
Malay, 22, is among the 18 navy personnel feared dead in the explosion in the navy submarine INS Sindhurakshak in Mumbai. INS Sindhurakshak was reportedly scheduled to leave for a patrol on August 14 and 18 sailors including three officers were on board at the time of the tragedy. Two blasts tore through the vessel and started a blaze that ignited some weapons on board. This generated fierce temperatures that melted parts of the internal hull and deformed hatches.
Meanwhile rescuers from the Indian Navy on Monday extricated one more body from INS Sindhurakshak, taking the number of victims recovered from the fire-devastated submarine to seven.
A navy team today came to the Halders’ house in Durgapur’s DPL Colony to collect DNA samples from Malay’s parents to ascertain if any of the seven charred bodies recovered was of the Durgapur sailor.
Sujata, mother of Malay broke down after seeing the navy personnel in uniform. “My son also used to wear this white uniform. Please tell me if he is alive,” she broke down into tears in front of the navy personnel.
Malay’s younger brother Abhishek, a college student in Calcutta, said: “Dada had gifted me a laptop after getting his first salary and told me that I would have to pursue higher studies. I cannot think about my future now.”
Asked if the navy had offered him a job on compensatory grounds, Abhishek said: “I got a call today from a navy official in Mumbai. He asked my blood group, age and educational qualification.”
The Halders have not cooked since they returned from Mumbai on Saturday. Neighbours are almost forcibly feeding and taking every care of the devastated family.
Durgapur mayor and local MLA Apurba Mukherjee could not be contacted for his comment over the matter.
District magistrate Saumitra Mohan said: “We have not been formally informed by anybody that one of the victims was from Durgapur. But if anyone approaches us, we will surely help.”
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