A sense of helpless agony permeates the Bhosale residence at Parvati in Pune. Their daughter, 20-year-old Karishma Bhosale, was one of the two students from Maharashtra who was tragically burnt to death in a blaze that ravaged the six-story Smolensk State Medical Academy in Western Russia on Sunday.
“She spoke to her mother on WhatsApp on Saturday night. The next day, after her phone gave an ‘unreachable’ message for several hours, we began to fear the first. It is hard for us to come to terms that she is no more,” said a stunned Uday Bhosale, Karishma’s father.
He recalled how the Dean of the Academy called them on Sunday afternoon to convey the tragic news.
“This is the first time we got a call from Smolensk since 2012 when Karishma first got admission. The Dean did not provide too many details about the accident. We want more information to make sure that this was no case of negligence,” said a visibly upset Uday Bhosale.
While nearly 60 students were rescued from the hostel, Karishma and her roommate, Pooja Kallur from Mumbai, were found dead in the dormitory’s fourth floor.
Shattered dreams are written large on the faces of Karishma’s family. An extremely bright student, she scored 92 per cent in her SSC (class X) examinations after finishing her schooling from the city’s Katariya High School.
“Why did the fire brigade take so long to reach the Academy? And why was Karishma and her roommate locked for nearly half an hour after the outbreak of the fire? Why didn’t the Academy authorities check that the girls were trapped despite safely evacuating others?” said an angry Jyoti Malusare, Karishma’s aunt.
Speaking on behalf of the traumatised family, Ms. Malusare demanded a complete report on the cause of the accident.