Having lost their near and dear ones in one of the five blasts that rocked the Capital a year ago, Karol Bagh residents organised a prayer meeting on Sunday in memory of the deceased.
Tears rolled down eyes of 16-year-old Asha as she talked about the hardships her family had been facing after her father Ganga Prasad was killed in the blast. “I have two younger brothers, Ravi (12) and Prakash (13) who do menial jobs for a living. In our community, most women and girls are not allowed to go out to work,” she said, adding that her 25-year-old cousin Raju also lost his life in the explosion.
Seventeen-year-old Jasoda lost her father Harsan, brother Ashok and sister Saroj on that fateful day. Showing their garlanded photographs, Jasoda said now there was no one in the family with a regular income. “Apart from the compensation we got from the State Government, we have no other source of income. Earlier my father and brother used to sell goods in the market to support the family,” she said.
Jasoda said Pooja and Santosh, the two daughters of her aunt Krishna, were also killed. The youngest among the dead in the family was two-year-old Chhotu.
Families of the victims said that they had received a compensation of Rs.5 lakh from the Delhi Government, but the ex-gratia of Rs.3 lakh announced by the Centre had not been given so far.
Among those present at the prayer meeting was Bajrang, the father of balloon seller Rahul, a primary witness in the serial blasts case. Rahul had identified the terrorists who planted a bomb on Barakhamba Road on September 13 last year.
Maninder Singh Bitta, the national president of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, also participated in a ‘havan’ organised for the peace of the departed souls. “The Government should take care of the families of the victims in every possible way. Their children should get education and opportunities for employment. The homeless should get shelters,” he said, promising to take up the problems faced by these families with the authorised concerned.
The police have so far arrested 12 suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists who were part of the module that triggered the blasts. The breakthrough came within a few days of the blasts when a Special Cell team led by Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma -- who was instrumental in neutralising 35 terrorists and arresting about 80 militants -- zeroed in on the suspected militants hiding in a flat at Batla House. In an ensuing encounter, two suspected terrorists were killed, but Inspector Sharma also lost his life in the gun battle.
After questions were raised on the authenticity of the encounter, the National Human Rights Commission conducted an inquiry and recently gave the Delhi police a clean chit in the case.
The police looking for 14 other persons in connection with the blasts, including the alleged Indian Mujahideen chief Amir Raza Khan and his trusted lieutenants Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal