For relatives of people who died in the serial blasts in Mumbai, 1993, justice has come too late.
Vinayak Devrukhkar lost his 19-year-old sister Shashikala and 11-year-old brother Vasant in the blast near Century Bazaar, Worli. They were on their way to school and were waiting at a bus stop when the bomb went off.
When they heard about the blasts, Devrukhkar and his mother ran through the street, making their ways through a sea of bodies and severed body parts, trying to locate Shashikala and Vasant.
They found their bodies five hours later at hospital in south Mumbai.
Devrukhar, now 36, said his father still slips into depression every time he is reminded of the blasts. “My parents never really got over the death of their children; they can’t even if they try,” he said.
“Justice for a victim’s family is only when the murderer is prosecuted within a year, maybe two. Yakub Memon’s verdict is not justice for my parents and me, especially after 22 years,” said Devrukhkar.
“It is all a political agenda and the common man has no choice. Even if a bomb explodes tomorrow, I will have to live with it, as I have to feed my family. Justice is really in the hands of the powerful; we never have a say,” he said.
Ramesh Jeswani, a shop owner at Century Bazaar, lost his brother during the blasts. “The verdict is completely justified, but it has taken too long,” he said.
Kirti Ajmera, a stock broker, was about to enter the Bombay Stock Exchange building when the blast threw him several metres away. He had a cracked ribcage, glass shards in his lungs, ears, face and limbs, his left hand and one of his ears were severely damaged, while the right side of his body was disfigured.
Ajmera, now 59, said after the decision only highlighted the Indian government’s ineptitude in dealing with perpetrators of terrorism. “What about the others culprits? The sea of red haunts me even today,” he said.
Over the years, Ajmera has undergone 40 surgeries and spent nearly Rs 20 lakh on treatment.