Working as a supervisor, Chand was among the 17 people who died when a fire broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh on February 12. As the body was charred beyond recognition, the family had sought a DNA test.

A late night call to Lal Chand’s family on Friday took away their sleep. The call, from a police officer, was about a DNA test report confirming that a charred body lying at RML’s mortuary for the last 12 days was, in fact, Chand’s.

Working as a supervisor, Chand was among the 17 people who died when a fire broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh on February 12. As the body was charred beyond recognition, the family had sought a DNA test.

“We couldn’t sleep the entire night. We wanted to reach the hospital at the earliest to find out about the report. It had been 11 days and we were unable to get any closure,” said Himanshu Thakur, his son who was with his family at RML hospital.

Samples were taken from Himanshu and his mother to match with the DNA from the body.

“We are now mentally satisfied and taking the body home for the final rituals,” he said. The samples were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) for testing on February 15.

For the last 12 days, numerous calls to police officers and doctors were the only thing that kept the family busy. “We have mixed emotions. While we were eagerly waiting for the test results, somewhere in our heart, we wanted it to come out negative. We hoped he would be alive and return. That hope has gone now,” said Himanshu.

Every morning, Himanshu would cross the hotel on his way to college. At 8 am on February 12, he saw the building up in flames. As the family members of other victims visited the hospital in the next two days to identify the bodies, Chand’s family was left with no option but to wait.

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