Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Body arrives from Armenia

Statesman News Service

SILIGURI, April 23:
Shell-shocked family members received the body of Prashant Anchalia, who died on Thursday after apparently falling from the sixth floor of the Yerevan State Medical University’s hostel in Armenia, at Bagdogra airport around 1.30 pm today.

A pall of gloom descended on the town as Prashant’s body reached his residence at Church Road here from Bagdogra airport. A large number of people had gathered outside the residence of the Anchalias to bid adieu to Prashant, whom they used to know as a brilliant student, who he died in mysterious circumstances in Armenia.

Puja Goel, who too hails from Siliguri and studies at YSMU in Armenia, and Abhishek, Prashant’s friend, accompanied the body as it reached Siliguri from Armenia, via New Delhi.

The duo was so shocked with the death of their friend that they could not even speak to the media. Later in the evening, they narrated the entire incident, and the lackadaisical attitude of the YSMU authorities, to the victim’s family members. The grief-stricken family members of Prashant, after hearing the duo, alleged that Prashant was murdered.

“We demand a high-level inquiry into the circumstances that led to Prashant’s death,” Mr Pankaj Anchalia, the victim’s elder brother, said.

Puja and Abhishek, eyewitnesses of the incident, alleged that they wanted to give their friend first aid but policemen and the medical department dean of YSMU, Ms Anna Sargsayn, didn’t allow them, saying that they must wait for an ambulance.

The ambulance arrived in 50 minutes without any doctor, the necessary medicine and oxygen. The Indian students approached the YSMU’s newly appointed rector, Mr Gohar Kjalyan, but the latter insulted them, instead of offering help.

Mr Pankaj Anchalia said what they heard from Puja and Abhishek was unfortunate. “Either the CBI or the Interpol should probe the incident,” he demanded. Mr Anchalia also lashed out at the Prime Minister’s Office for not responding to their fax message.

“The Government of India should have helped us bring the body from Armenia. But they did not. Had the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, not intervened, the body would not have reached Siliguri today,” he said. “Mr Somnath Chatterjee had contacted the Indian amabassador in Armenia, Mrs Reena Pandey, and instructed her to extend all possible help to us. He also sent his condolences to us,” Mr Anchalia added.

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