It was the evening of June 29, 2014, when I was covering the terrible tragedy of a building that had collapsed in Moulivakkam, nearly 20 kilometres from Chennai. The 11-storey building that was being constructed had come down, killing 11 people. 20 had been rescued. More than 40 were still trapped.
The families of those who had yet to be located were desperate for news. But suddenly, the operations stopped. The heavy-duty earth-moving machines that were being used to rummage through the debris turned silent.
Soon she arrived, inspected the place and addressed the press. She began explaining what went wrong and detailed the rescue efforts.
To highlight that her visit appeared to have disrupted crucial efforts to uncover those still trapped, I politely asked, "Ma'am, over the last few hours, rescue work has almost to come to an an end. Do you think authorities could have avoided this?" She turned red and said "These are mischievous questions, these are politically-motivated questions. I'm not prepared to answer such questions. If you think that the rescue operations are over, I invite you to stay here and watch the rescue operations till they are over" and she moved to her car.
(Sam Daniel is NDTV's Bureau Chief, Chennai)
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