For saving some 400 lives on the fateful night of the 26/11 terror attacks, Bablu Kumar Deepak, a railway announcer at the out-station train section of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), was awarded an amount so meager that he even does not want to talk about it.
“I did my job. I feel satisfied,” said the 33-year-old railway employee from Bihar as he sat in the announcement room beside Vishnu Datta Ram Zende, who received Rs 10 lakh for the same act. “I wish his (Deepak’s) act was recognised in a better way,” said Zende, who shot to fame for making the prompt announcements.
Deepak was awarded Rs 500 and a certificate on May 7 this year, almost five months after the attack. However, even this recognition did not come easily. Deepak wrote two letters to the authorities dated December 17, 2008, and April 12, 2009, seeking some recognition.
As per the letters, he was on duty on the night of the incident and was sitting alone in the announcement room situated barely a few metres away from the spot where the first grenade was thrown by the two terrorists. Indrani Express from Pune had just arrived on platform number 13 and Deepak was making a general announcement of its arrival. “At around 9.50 pm I heard the grenade blast and then bullet shots. I immediately informed the passengers about the terrorist attack and asked them to run towards the back,” he said.
Deepak then called his colleagues, the other two announcers Vishwas Bhatt and Zende to inform them about the attack. Zende, who was posted on the local line section, had already started making announcements to alert local passengers.
A few minutes later Deepak saw Kasab standing right below his cabin (a glass cabin situated on the first floor). He was loading his gun. “I immediately ran and bolted the door. Then I switched off the lights and hid under the table,” he added.
In the letters Deepak claimed his prompt act saved lives of about 400 passengers on the station’s inter-state terminal.