Horror of 7/11 still haunts survivors

Prayer meet organised to mark the ninth anniversary of the attack.

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:19 am IST

Published - July 12, 2015 03:42 am IST - MUMBAI:

Mahendra Pitale, who lost his hand in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts, paying homage to Parag Sawant, who died recently after a nine-year struggle.

Mahendra Pitale, who lost his hand in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts, paying homage to Parag Sawant, who died recently after a nine-year struggle.

The death of Parag Sawant this Tuesday revived the memories of one of Mumbai’s most horrific evenings nine years ago. He became the 189th victim of a series of train blasts on July 11, 2006.

But unlike the suburban rail services which resumed soon after these bombs went off, many ‘survivors’ of the terror attack are still struggling to get life back on track.

Sharing the tale they lived to tell and the aftermath, people who were injured in the blasts, joined Sawant’s family members during a prayer meet for the 7/11 victims on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the terror attack.

Most among those who showed up at the prayer meet at Mahim Junction were the ones who had lost one arm in the attack. The prosthetics or other supports told a part of the story and accounts of alleged bureaucratic apathy and daily struggles further explained how excruciating going through life had been for them.

Artist Mahendra Pitale claimed that the Railways jobs has given to many of his fellow victims as compensation remains elusive to him. Mahendra lost his left hand travelling in the first class compartment when the blast took place at Borivali station. Although he admitted to have applied for the job only in 2010, he said his fight seemed to be a never ending one.

His fellow passenger Kamal Khemka, who had a printing business in 2006, managed to get a job, but has his own regrets: “I was 36 back then and at the prime of my life. My projections for business in the coming years and expectations from life were much more. One incident and all my dreams went up in smoke.”

But regrets and nightmares of that fateful evening aside, Mr. Khemka has also reserves some of his ire for the authorities. “Even today, I don’t feel that any commuter feels completely secure while travelling,” he said. His once bitten, twice shy stance is recurring in most victims The Hindu spoke to but trains being the lifeline of Mumbai city and the indomitable Mumbai spirit is what prevents them from shunning the local network. Namdev Rade, another victim, adds that he has never travelled in first class since the blast. All the blasts took place in first class compartments.

On the police investigation and the progress of trial, questions regarding have been repeatedly raised, victims shied away from making a comment but unequivocally stated that the strictest possible punishment would mean that justice has been delivered to the perpetrators.

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