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Prayers in vain for ‘brilliant’ Minal

Mumbai, April 17: Minal Panchal, an Indian architecture student at Virginia Tech who was missing through the day, was declared dead late tonight.

Her neighbours at Park View, a middle-class housing society in Borivali in the city’s western suburbs, described Minal as a brilliant student who went to the US last year to follow in the footsteps of her late father, who was an architect.

The US authorities had earlier confirmed the death of only one Indian, G.V. Loganathan, who taught civil engineering at the university, in yesterday’s campus massacre and the neighbours of Panchals were praying that Minal was not one of the dead.

The Panchal residence was locked as Minal’s mother, the only one in the family who lives in Mumbai, is also in the US.

Their neighbours, the Ghumatkars, said: “Minal’s father was an architect and died two years ago. She was staying here with her mother. Her elder sister Kavita, a doctor, has been based in the US for the past few years.”

Describing Minal as a “smart and brilliant” student, one of them said: “She stood third in her college in architecture and managed to get admission at Virginia Tech on her own merit.

“Her mother left to stay with her daughters a fortnight ago. We do not know her whereabouts.”

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