When Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan saw 22-year-old Rukhsana Kausar at the Gateway of India on Thursday, she went up to the young woman and hugged her.
Kausar, who killed a Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) terrorist in Jammu and Kashmir last month, and the slain National Security Guards’ (NSG) Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s mother wept silently as they held each other.
The two women met at a function held near the Gateway of India for paying tribute to the 26/11 martyrs on Thursday.
Sandeep, Dhanalakshmi’s only child, was killed when he was fighting terrorists at the Taj hotel.
“I didn’t know who she [Dhanalakshmi] was until [M.S.] Bitta saheb introduced me to her,” said Kausar. “When she hugged me she whispered that she saw her son in me.”
Dhanalakshmi was too emotional to speak. “I too am a mother,” is all she said.
Kausar killed a terrorist with his own gun at her residence in Rajouri. She saved her injured parents. Her family is still a terror target and was attacked again.
Bitta, who heads the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, brought Kausar to Mumbai for the first anniversary of the 26/11 attacks.
Dhanalakshmi is in the city with her husband K Unnikrishnan, a retired officer of the Indian Space and Research Organisation. They are staying at the Taj hotel where their son died on November 27, 2008.
The hotel has constructed the Palm Lounge on the spot where the major lay dead. The parents plan to spend some time there on Friday. “We are here to take care of our son,” said the father. The mother promptly added, “No one has forgotten our son.”
Unnikrishnan said he was in Mumbai to show solidarity with the city. “I want the people not to let the city down again,” he said.