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2008 blast scars still fresh

Four years after several of their dear ones were killed by a hail of shrapnel, a sombre group of families gathered to pay homage to the dead at an improvised temple in north Delhi's Beadon Pura on Thursday afternoon. Jatin Anand reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 13, 2012 23:46 IST
Jatin Anand

Four years after several of their dear ones were killed by a hail of shrapnel, a sombre group of families gathered to pay homage to the dead at an improvised temple in north Delhi's Beadon Pura on Thursday afternoon.

Fifty-year-old Krishna Devi's only remaining eye - the other was removed during a life-saving surgery after an explosion that tore her stomach apart on September 13, 2008 - was moist as she sat on a rock and stared silently at pictures of her sisters, none of whom could make it.

"I thought I had seen most of the world. But the explosion proved me terribly wrong. In the past four years, the apathy - of the government and among the people around me - I've seen with my only eye is appalling," Krishna complained.

"We were promised not just compensation, but a better chance at surviving what is left of our lives by merely hawking on the streets. Neither has my sister Santosh's family been given any compensation, nor have I got a licence to eke out a living."

Krishna Devi, who makes ends meet despite the several hospital trips she is still required to make on a monthly basis, however, was just one of the gloomy faces outside gali No. 42, opposite the bustling Ghaffar Market, where at least 21 died and 57 people were injured.

"I just wish I could do something to get back on my feet again," mused Sovi Devi, who lost her immediate family to the explosion on that fateful day.

"There were three deaths in my family - my daughter Saroj, my son Archis and my husband Ashok. The blast claimed all three lives. Even if I want to move on now, I can't, at least financially."

For Ashok Pawar, 45, all it takes for the memories to come hurtling back is a mere glance across the street.

"I was standing right here, talking to my nephews Ram Lal and Ashok Bhati. Ashok had just brought Kishan out of the house for a stroll around the market when the bomb went off. It gets very difficult to look across the street every September," he said.