A father waits for daughter missing in Kolkata fire


Kolkata: “This is my daughter. Have you seen her?”, is a question Himadri Roychowdhury unfailingly asks every passer-by, pointing to her photograph, hoping against hope for information about his 23-year-old daughter who is one of the 10 people missing in the Stephen Court inferno.

Support TwoCircles

His daughter, Joyotri, worked with a private company that had its office in the Stephen Court building. She is untraceable since the Tuesday afternoon blaze that devastated the century-old building on Park Street and claimed 24 lives.

On Thursday, the elderly father sat under a tree on the premises of the state-run S.S.K.M hospital, holding aloft the photo. “Have you seen my daughter? She was wearing a cream salwar-kameez dress that day,” he asks people, looking bleary-eyed and fatigued.

“Since Tuesday, I have been running from the police station to the hospital and to Stephen Court to find her. So far, there is no news of her,” says Roychowdhury, a resident of Sodepur in North 24 Parganas.

Joyotri, who was employed with the Guru Ispat company, had called her father around 1.30 p.m. that day. “That was the last time I spoke to her. Since then, I have called her mobile so many times. But it is always unavailable.”

Similar is the trauma of the family members of another missing youth, Amit Gupta, who was working in a call centre in Stephen Court.

Gupta, 22, a final year B.C.A student, had joined the call centre only a month back.

“We have seen the bodies. Though they are charred, we are sure none of them is Amit,” said his uncle Gopal Dasgupta.

Gupta’s mother’s tears seem to have dried up. “The bodies have become so shrunken. How can one identify such bodies?” she asked, giving a blank look.