“Will I be able to hear again? I can’t hear at all,” asks a teary eyed Suraj Pal, 50, who has lost his hearing ability after the loud blast. Pal was one of the 12 shopkeepers from Sarojini Nagar market who were at the Delhi high court to attend the final hearing of their tehbazari case.
Pal is among the five blast victims who have been admitted to Safdarjung Hospital and the All India Institute of Medical sciences (AIIMS). All five have undergone tests to detect the extent of hearing loss.
Harcharan Singh, 53, a crockery shop owner at Sarojini Nagar market, constantly points at his right ear. “I can’t hear anything and my legs are numb,” said Singh. “I was getting the gate pass made when I heard a loud sound. Before I could realise, I was thrown in the air. I landed a few meters away from the main gate,” adds Singh.
He was taken to the hospital by his nephew, Mohit, who had accompanied him to the court. Mohit survived the blast as he was inside the court complex. “There were bodies all around and we were trying to make our way through them,” said Singh.
In the same room is Naresh Kumar, 48, an official in the Ministry of Urban Development, who has also lost his hearing power. He was at the court to represent his department in a morning hearing. “I have a permanent pass issued in my name, so did not need to get the gate pass made. I was talking to the lawyer when I heard a deafening sound. After that, I could hear nothing,” said Kumar.
Despite the shock, Kumar pulled himself. He informed his son that he was rushing to Safdarjung Hospital. “After reaching the hospital, I realised that it was a blast sound that I heard,” he said. Kumar is on a saline drip, but has no other injury apart from hearing loss.
One of the two injured admitted at AIIMS, Nahimuddin, who had accompanied a friend for a court hearing, is seriously injured, with a 4x4cm puncture wound in the chest and burn wounds on both legs and arms.