Three years after five bombs ripped through busy marketplaces in the Capital leaving more than 20 people dead and over a hundred injured, many of those who lost their near and dear ones in the terror attack are still trying to piece together their lives.
“My life was shattered after the death of my husband in the blast. He earned enough to take care of the family. But life seems to have come to a standstill after his death. There is no source of income now and every day is a struggle. We live on the road and do not have enough money to buy even bare essentials like soap. The would-be in-laws of my daughter, who turned 18 this year, are insisting on a marriage before Diwali. But where is the money?” asked 42-year-old Basanti, who lost her husband Ramlal Pawar (44) in the blast that took place in Karol Bagh.
The first of the five explosions, which occurred between 6-10 and 6-40 p.m. on September 13, 2008, had taken place near a three-wheeler in Karol Bagh. Later two bombs went off at Connaught Place and two more in the bustling M-Block market of Greater Kailash.
Sondei, who lost three members of her family in the Karol Bagh blast, said: “That one moment changed my life for ever. I lost my husband Hari Chand, son Ashok and daughter Saroj. Ashok's wife Kamlesh has now gone to stay with her parents along with her little daughter Simran. Kamlesh did not feel comfortable here. She was haunted by the memories of the blast. I go to meet them every 15-20 days.”
And it is not just the pain of having lost their loved ones, the survivors are now faced with a survival crisis. “I am living on the compensation awarded after the death of my husband and daughter. There is no regular source of income. I went to some influential persons in our locality with a request for a widow pension. But they said I need to provide address proof for that such as an electricity or water bill. But I do not have that, I live on the pavement. Only if the government could help us to start tehbazari, we can live with some dignity,” she said.
“Every time a blast takes place, we can feel the pain of those who lose their loved ones. These terrorists should also be made to suffer like us only then we can have a peace of mind. But the government keeps them in jails and serves them food. And we struggle for two square meals a day,” said Sondei, unable to control her anger.
Though families of several victims have moved out following the blast, they all make it a point to gather at the blast spot every September 13. “Every year we gather here and pray for the peace of the departed souls. We also offer prayers at this peepel tree which bore the brunt of the blast. It stood between the blast and the people. Had it not be there, many more lives would have been lost,” said Pappu Pawar, who lost nine of his relatives in the blast.
Keywords: 2008 Delhi blast