Anguished friends and well-wishers of the victims of the German Bakery bomb blast in Pune took out a peace march along the Marine Drive here on Sunday.
“September 13, Delhi; November 26, Mumbai; February 13, Pune what next?,” “Who will answer for their deaths?,” “You can’t win by bombs” and “Be vigilant, stop accepting” were the messages flashed across the placards raised by a group of around 25 youths.
A wake-up call
“We feel this is a wake-up call for everyone. We don’t want people, the government, or the media to forget. We would like the government to take a strong stand, not just pass around documents. We want the government to ask for extradition. The government knows what is best and we support it. We just want them to do what is best. The government should realise it has a bigger responsibility,” Vidit Saxena, a friend of victim Ankik Dhar and a fellow IITian told The Hindu.
Sudeep Chakraborty, a childhood friend of Anindyee Dhar, Ankik’s sister who also died in the blast, said that a simultaneous peace march was to take place in four other cities, Delhi, Ranchi, Kolkata and Chandigarh. “We could not do it in Pune as we did not get the permission owing to security concerns,” he said.
From their schooldays in Kolkata, Sudeep remembers Anindyee as “a lively and enthusiastic person” who liked writing and played various sports. The brother-sister duo is survived by a younger brother who is currently studying for his Standard 12 board exams.
The family is trying to cope with the tragedy. “Their mother broke down on the spot; the father was strong, but now its the other way round,” Sudeep said.
Many of Ankik’s friends from college and workplace (he passed out of IIT, Kharagpur and worked in Mumbai) raved about his multifarious talents. “He would excel in everything and was curious about everything. Whenever any of us was in trouble, he would say Just chill. He was the most popular guy in college,” Sumit Wadhwa and Vidit said.
“We are so used to hearing about blasts. I was in a cinema hall when I heard the about the incident. Initially, I did not think much of it. I did not think much of the fact that Shilpa’s mobile was not reachable. But all of a sudden it struck me that she was in Pune and her phone could not be reached. I heard from friends that Ankik had been identified [among the dead]. I rushed out of the movie and headed to Pune. I identified Shilpa in the hospital. I was told that her legs had been severed from the body. Her face was covered with blood and badly marred, but I could identify her,” said Milind Thaker, Shilpa Goenka’s friend and office colleague.
He said Shilpa who hailed from a conservative family was the first member to become an engineer.
Speaking of her generous nature, Milind said, “She was always there for us in all ups and downs. She believed in charity and ran in the [Mumbai] marathon. It was her dream to set up an educational trust for girls. Her parents are now trying to make that dream come alive.”