When college tour turned a death journey

Faculty members of Amrutvahini College recount the horrid day after Lumbini Park blast

“It was a flash and a loud bang at Lumbini Park, part of the laser show.” This is what the faculty and students of Amrutvahini College of Engineering, Sangamner, in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, initially thought.

It was only after some time that they saw dismembered body parts and human carcasses and realised with horror that an explosion had ripped through the park on the rainy evening of August 25, 2007.

They came to know later that five of their college students, sitting in the central row, were killed in the blast. Two succumbed to injuries while being shifted to hospital and more than 15 students suffered injuries.

Forty-five second-year electronic engineering students and four faculty members of the college had come to Hyderabad from Sangamner on a three-day industrial tour, a day before the bomb blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar that rocked the State capital 11 years ago.

Speaking to The Hindu, the faculty members said they have not forgotten either the names or faces of their students who were reduced to a mere statistic in the Lumbini Park blast.

Recalling the traumatic evening, Vikas Marathe, one of the faculty members who led the trip, said after visiting Snow World, Salarjung Museum and Golconda Fort, the group came to Lumbini Park around 6.30 p.m. to watch a laser show, as their industrial tour to the DRDO was cancelled as permission was not accorded for the same.

“Had we gotten permission to visit the DRDO, we would have averted our plan to visit the park,” he said.

Mr. Marathe, currently working with a private engineering college in Pune, said he was sitting in the last row and most of the students were in the middle rows. “After the autopsy, the bodies of our students were airlifted to their native places in Bihar and Maharashtra.” Mr. Marathe said interrogation of Anique Shafiq Syed, one of the accused, was carried out in his presence in a vehicle while he was being shifted to Hyderabad from Mumbai Central Prison.

‘Accused unrepentant’

“Listening to him, I realised that he had no repentance for his action, which claimed the lives of several innocents,” he said. He, along with a few students, were called by the police to identify the accused. During their journey from Mumbai to Panvel, they listened to his confession.

“Syed told the police that they planned to plant a bomb in a boat at Hussainsagar. But he came to Lumbini Park and placed the explosive in the central row,” he said, quoting Syed. “The accused also explained to the police how and where the bomb was prepared and that he got ₹50,000 for the operation.” Twelve were killed and 21 injured in the blast, investigators said.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 4:26:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/when-college-tour-turned-a-death-journey/article24782239.ece

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