A grimace spreads across the face of Sanjay Khanakwal on seeing an unattended bicycle near the Hanuman temple in Chandpol. The bicycle with a tiffin box latched on to its carrier reminds him of the Jaipur serial blasts that took place in the evening of May 13, 2008.
A flower vendor, Khanakwal was among the injured in the serial bomb blasts eight years ago that killed more than 60 people and injured over 200. His uncle, Ramprasad Khankwal, was among those killed in the blasts.
“When the blast happened, aarti was going on in the temple. No one had noticed that the bombs were planted on a bicycle near the temple for hours. Nothing has changed and even now security arrangements are not enough,” Khanakwal said, pointing to the unattended bicycle.
Kunj Vihari Sharma, who owns a small shop outside the temple, said it took him some time to figure out what had happened on the fateful day.
“Most of the people started running towards Choti Chaupar but an explosion happened there as well. I remember helping police to get the injured on vans which took them to a hospital. Everyone came together and took part in the relief work.”
Locals pointed out that till recently, one of the CCTV cameras installed after the blasts didn’t function. The repair was done only when Rs 5,000 was stolen from a devotee.
Today, a signboard of Manak Chowk police station stands at the site of the blast in Badi Chaupar. It was here that shop owner Saroor Akhtar saw the body of an elderly woman lying in a pool of blood. The woman used to earn living by selling sell toys.
“Darkness had enveloped the area but we later saw bodies strewn all over Manak Chowk,” said Akhtar. One of the salesmen who worked in his shop was also injured by the impact.
“He died a few years ago due to kidney failure. A shrapnel from the bomb had injured him grievously.”