Remembering the Delhi blast victims, two years later


New Delhi : With tears in their eyes and anger in their hearts, family members and relatives of Delhi’s triple blast victims gathered at the Sarojini Nagar market Monday to pay homage to their dear ones on the second anniversary of the terror strike.

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They performed a havan, or fire ritual, near the popular market and offered floral tributes at a memorial to the victims.

“Today is a sad reminder of that tragic day when I lost my husband,” said a teary eyed Kiran Saluja. “But there is no other way out. Life has to move on.”

Kiran lost her husband Lalchand, owner of Shyam Juice Centre, when a bomb went off outside their shop at the market on Oct 29, 2005, a few days before the festival of Diwali.

“The memories are still fresh, and the pain and agony refuse to heel,” she said after two minutes’ silence and prayers in remembrance of the departed souls.

“Though I am running my husband’s shop, it is not easy to live life normally,” she said faintly.

Celina Das, who lost her son Michael, daughter-in-law Smita and grandson Elvin in the terror attack, broke down after looking at their photographs pasted on a white board and kept near the memorial in white marble, displaying all victims’ names.

“Earlier, we were a family of six. Now we are only three. I am alive only because of my granddaughter Manisha. That day, she was coming to this market along with her parents but I stopped her. Now she is the only sign of my daughter,” Das said holding Manisha tightly against herself.

On Oct 29, 2005, three blasts rocked the national capital, killing over 60 people in the tragedy and injuring more than 100.

The blasts targeted the Sarojini Nagar market, crowded with shoppers ahead of Diwali, an ever-busy Pahargunj market near the New Delhi Railway Station, and a city bus in Kalkaji in a span of 15 minutes on that black Saturday.

The Sarojini Nagar market, a middle-class shopping hub, witnessed maximum blood bath as 50 people lost their lives and 92 were injured when the bomb went off near the juice vendor’s shop a little after 6 p.m.

However, life moves on in the market. Thousands of people keep visiting it everyday and shop-owners have got back to their daily routine.

The juice shop, which was in tatters after the blast, is back after renovation. Burnt trees are rejuvenated, and are sporting green leaves.

“The situation has improved compared to last year. Business activities are almost normal. Of the 47 identified bodies 42 people have received compensation and the only lacuna is security,” said Ashok Randhawa, president of the Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Association.

“After the blast, the police deployed six close circuit TV camera and used to frisk visitors. A few months back, they took out the cameras saying they will deploy 25 new cameras but there is no progress so far. This is the festival season but the police seem little interested in providing adequate security,” he said.

“The government and the police will wake up only after some terrorists hit busy markets again and innocent people lose their lives,” said Vijay Kumar Mishra, who runs a toy shop in the market.

“It is painful to see that the government has done little to prevent such attacks. They even don’t come to anniversary functions that we are organising for the last two years,” said Monika, who sustained serious burns on right hand and leg and lost her eight-month-old daughter in the blast.