- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2006

BOMBAY — No one knows who he is. No one knows where he comes from. The small semi-conscious form lies unidentified in a Bombay hospital, fed by a drip, waiting for someone, anyone, to arrive to claim him as their family.

Most of the more than 200 dead and 700 wounded in Tuesday’s railway blasts in India’s financial capital have been identified, but the boy who suffered head injuries lies alone in the intensive care unit, unable to speak.

Until someone arrives, the hospital staff will call him Raju, although he cannot talk or take in their words.

Raju, who appears to be about 10, has several stitches on his face and missing teeth. He drifts in and out of consciousness.

Doctors at northern Bombay’s Bhagwati Hospital are at a loss.

“The boy was brought in on Tuesday night along with 104 others from Borivali station blasts,” said Urmila Garg, deputy medical superintendent. “We don’t know who brought him, and we have no idea who he is.

“We are just hoping that someone out there will come and claim him.”

Nurses who have been caring for Raju think he was traveling with his parents on the train when the blasts occurred and there is a strong likelihood they are dead.

“The television stations have been broadcasting his pictures, but still no one has come for him,” said a nurse who did not want her name used. “This is why we think that his family may have died in the explosion.”

As family and friends stream into the dilapidated hospital and crowd around the bedsides of the other injured, Raju remains alone.

Drowsy and weak, he lies alone under a cotton bedsheet, occasionally opening his eyes and crying out loud.

Since the blasts took place, thousands have packed the overcrowded hospitals searching for missing relatives.

Boards with lists of the dead — sometimes labeled “Unfortunate Victims” — and the injured have been posted outside every hospital.

Carrying photographs of loved ones, many have spent day and night moving from one hospital to another, searching as many wards and mortuaries as possible — scared of what they will find.

“I’ve just found my fiance after two days,” says Elvina Vaz, a teacher from Bhayander.

“He’s badly wounded but at last my search is over. But it was a terrible experience seeing all the dead bodies, and it made me very scared.”

Police say that only two dead remain to be identified and that Raju is one of the few wounded who has not been claimed.

His condition is improving, but his fate is not clear.

“We’ll keep him here for as long as we can, but eventually if nobody comes for him, the authorities will have to get involved and who knows where he will go,” Mrs. Garg said.

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