Mumbai Local

10 years on, train blast victims want identification for their disabilities

Mahendra Pitale, who was injured in the train blasts, pays homage to those who lost their lives.— Photo: Abhishek Kerketta  

“I lost my hearing ability in the blast. Thankfully, I was saved. But it is difficult for me to explain myself to people when I am caught in a problematic situation,” said Girish Tavsalkar (57), a victim of the July 2006 blast that ripped through the city.

“…I was speaking to a receptionist at a government office sometime back and I could not hear her. So I went forward to be able to hear her better, but she was taken aback; anyone would be. And it is difficult to explain yourself in such situations. That’s why the government should try to give us victims some sort of identification card, so that we can show people that we are actually suffering from a condition,” Mr. Tavsalkar said.

Monday marked the completion of 10 years since the blast. Many victims and family members, along with BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the blast at Mahim station.

“Every year we gather here, we remember the 186 lives we lost, and several more that were injured in different ways; we can see what terrorism is and we see what its outcome is,” Somaiya said.

Speaking to The Hindu , the families of victims recounted stories about those they lost in the blast.

Ramesh K. Naik, 70, lost both his daughters; one in the blast and one due to brain haemorrhage. He complains of the ‘privilege’ given to the convicts of going to the court over and over again to file pleas and push the verdict. “Our government spent Rs. 30 crore on Ajmal Kasab, why do they have to do that? They can give that money to the ones who are suffering the repercussions of the tragedy,” he said.

Another victim, who lost his right hand in the blast, says that punishment for the convicts isn’t enough, “Terrorism should be eradicated from its root and people who conspired should be punished,” the victim, who did not wish to be named, said.

Family members of Parag Sawant, the 36-year-old who was in a coma for nine years before his death in 2015, come to Mahim every year to pay tribute to victims of the terror attack. They say they have formed a bond with everyone. “We are together in this,” say Suresh Salunke and Jaiprakash Sawant, the uncle and father of Parag Sawant, who became the face of the attack. When Sawant was caught in the peak-hour bombings in first class compartments while on his way home to Bhayander, his wife was pregnant. His daughter Prachiti, would visit her father regularly at Hinduja Hospital, but never got to play with him.

Shivam Patel is an intern with The Hindu

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 11:05:12 PM |

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