Kolkata, April 6: Still grappling with the grief of having lost their kin in one of the city's worst disasters, the family of a woman killed in the Vivekananda Road flyover collapse has been forced to run from pillar to post to secure the post-mortem report -- essential to seek legal recourse.
City resident Shabana Bano, 28, was one of the 26 victims of the ghastly tragedy when a portion of the under-construction flyover collapsed in a busy Posta market area on March 31.
Still in shock over the tragedy, the family's bid to bring to justice the company that "killed innocent people" is being "thwarted" by the police.
"For the past few days, we have been running from pillar to post to get the post-mortem report, but far from being sensitive to our cause, the police have been harassing us. They are not even willing to tell us verbally about the contents of the report. Don't we have the right to know the cause of the death of our sister," asks Shabana's brother Mohammad Nawazuddin.
Having being told to wait at least "two weeks" before they can get the report, the family said they will move the court if the "police harassment continues".
"We are not alone. Families of other victims are also being subjected to similar harassment. If we don't get the report in the next two weeks, we will have no choice but to seek legal recourse," he said.
While there is no specific time frame for handing over the post-mortem report, legal experts say the usual norm was "24-to-48 hours".
"In individual cases of unnatural death, the report is usually handed within 24 to 48 hours after the body is handed over to the family to enable them to seek legal recourse if they wish to. But in this case, two weeks' time is too much," said an advocate.
Denying charges of harassment, the police assert they are doing everything to expedite the handing over of the autopsy report.
"Usually it takes over a week, especially when there is a tragedy of this scale. We are trying our best to hand over the autopsy report to bereaved families at the earliest. Any claims of the families being harassed are baseless," said deputy commissioner of police Akhilesh Chaturvedi.
While the police have slapped several stringent charges, including murder, against the Hyderabad based IVRCL, engaged in constructing the project, and arrested nine of its officials, Nawazuddin says all the victims' families should file cases against the company to set a deterrent.
"No amount of money can bring back my sister but compensation will at least secure the future of her two children. I feel all the victims' families should file a case seeking exemplary compensation so that it acts as deterrent and people would think twice before acting negligently as has been in this case," he said.