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Cape Breton University student dies in major fire in India

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A Cape Breton University student from India has been identified as one of the victims in a horrific fire in that country that has killed more than two dozen people.

Shivam Singh said one of his roommates, Akshay Dholariya, died in the fire Saturday at a large gaming arcade centre in the western Indian city of Rajkot.

The 26-year-old Dholariya had been one of Singh's roommates in Sydney, N.S., for more than a year. The two men were post-baccalaureate business students at Cape Breton University (CBU).

Singh learned about the tragedy as he was returning home from the gym Saturday evening.

"I got a call from my elder brother who lives in New Brunswick with his (Dholariya’s) elder brother,” Singh said. “So he told me about the news, about the fire and all the stuff. Then, I was not able to process the data."

The bad news was confirmed Sunday morning.

The victim's brother also posted to Facebook, writing Dholariya went home to India to give his hand in marriage to his wife-to-be.

The social media post added the couple was celebrating at the game zone – along with her sister – when they all died in the fire.

"We are trying to retrieve as many bodies as possible,” said a police official in Rajkot while speaking to local media. “As of now, around 20 bodies have been recovered and they have been sent to the hospital for further investigations."

Singh said people who knew Dholariya will get together at some point to honour their friend's memory.

"Every time I come down (from my apartment) I see his car,” Singh said. “It doesn't feel right. I don't know, I'm still not ready to believe that we lost him."

Singh said his friend's wedding would have been in December – the same month he would have graduated from CBU.

He added while he won't make it home to India for the funeral, he plans to visit his friend's brother in New Brunswick to offer support.

"I'll obviously remember him as a great friend, great buddy”, Singh said of Dholariya. “A person who always stands by you, helps you. He was a great guy."

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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