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Meerut fire: Mental scars far more serious than physical

By Staff
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Meerut, Apr 16: Life would never be the same again for Shishir Yadav, 34, a victim of the Victoria Park inferno here.

The management graduate, recuperating at a local hospital was admitted to the hospital with 35 per cent burns. Though he should count himself lucky to escape the hell, Shishir says the mental wounds were far more serious than those he suffered on his body.

Though he managed to come out of the devastating fire, he lost his close friend Athar Jafferi, which will haunt him for his whole life.

''These six days were like six centuries for me,'' Shishir said.

Though the administration showed ''extraordinary haste'' in clearing the ashes at the site of the tragedy, the mental scars of the victims will not be erased so soon. The seething anger towards a ''callous'' administration was manifest in various protests over this period.

According to Shishir, the synthetic material was primarily responsible for causing such a largescale loss of human lives as the melted material rained on the people present at the site burning them seriously.

Also in the absence of any emergency exits, leave alone effective anti-fire mechanisms and devices, people were trapped inside the tents.

Pooja Shrivastava, another victim, of the tragic fire, was more concerned about the children she could not save as they burnt before her eyes.

''I wanted to save them but people didn't allowed me to go back into the inferno,'' Pooja said.

The 21-year-old saved many lives for which she has been recommended for a bravery award along with fireman Vijay Pal Singh.

She again is struggling with the mental trauma and has been prescribed psychological help to overcome the shock.

''I don't think I would ever again be able to visit such a fair in my life,'' Pooja said.

UNI

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