Nine bodies from Rajkot fire tragedy identified through DNA test: Gujarat home minister

Ahmedabad, May 27 (PTI) The identities of nine bodies recovered from the fire-ravaged TRP Game Zone in Rajkot have been established through DNA analysis, said Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi on Monday.

As many as 27 persons, including children, were killed in a massive fire at the recreation centre on May 25. Since the bodies were charred beyond recognition, the state government is taking the help of a forensic science lab to identify the victims through DNA profiling.

As the process is time-consuming, several anxious families waiting outside the Rajkot civil hospital to collect the bodies of their kin got into a heated argument with local police on Monday.

Sanghavi visited the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar and announced that it has so far identified nine victims by matching their DNA samples with the samples of their relatives.

“I can understand the anger of the families who have lost their loved ones. FSL is also working round the clock. Entire FSL staff have cancelled their holidays and other travel plans so that all the samples are analysed as early as possible. I have reviewed the progress and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel is also taking updates every hour,” Sanghavi told reporters.

Since it was impossible to collect blood samples from the charred bodies, forensic experts have collected bone samples to match the DNA of the deceased and their relatives, said Sanghavi.

“It would have taken nearly four hours if samples were brought to Gandhinagar by road. To expedite the DNA matching process, the CM ordered the deployment of an air ambulance” he said.

The minister said the process of matching DNA started at FSL early on Sunday morning and a team of 18 forensic experts has been working round to clock since then so that the bodies can be handed over to their relatives after identification.

“This process is lengthy and it involves nine steps. Blood samples of relatives are matched with blood or bone samples of the deceased for matching DNA. Usually, each sample analysis would take nearly 48 hours.

Till now, nine dead bodies have been identified. Eight samples are currently under analysis. We will inform the relatives as soon as reports arrive,” he added.

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