He used to sell balloons for a living, but today he is under police protection and attends a school run by an NGO. Now 16 years old, he was one of the key eyewitnesses in the September 2008 Delhi serial blasts case. He saw two alleged members of Indian Mujahideen dropping explosives in one of the bins near Regal Cinema.
The alert boy, then 14 years old, alarmed the beat constable who detected the explosives and many lives were saved.
An orphan, who used to take care of his grandparents by selling balloons in Connaught Place, he received his due only last month. A R2.5 lakh cheque that was promised to him for his bravery and alertness was delivered after lot of hassles and red-tapism last month.
"The boy was forced to give up selling balloons owing to the sensitivity of the case, as he was one of the key eyewitnesses. Now the boy lives at a shelter home while his grandparents sell odd items outside temples to earn a living. We had to file several RTI applications to get him his dues. Hopefully the family's condition will improve once they receive interest from the compensation money," said Ashok Randhawa, who took up the boy’s case and got him the compensation.
Randhawa, however, hasn’t been successful with others. Thirty eight-year-old Chandra-vati Devi, who lost her husband and two infant daughters to the tragedy, is still waiting for her compensation. "The state government gave me a compensation of R5 lakh after the incident. The money slipped through my hands over everyday and medical expenses. Most of it was given away in order to give wedding gifts to my relatives who were not unfortunate like me," said Chadravati.
Two years on, more than half a dozen women like Chandravati who were widowed by the blasts are yet to receive the compensation of R3 lakh that Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had promised them.
"All we have been doing is receiving and replying to official letters. Not only has the government forgotten the incident but even its own promise. We are yet to receive the compensation that the minister promised us. Replying to official denials and fighting for our right is costing us more and more each day," said Krishna Devi (48) who lost her left eye and two sisters to the blasts.