“No punishments can ease the pain we’ve suffered in the past nine years,” said Lalji Pandey, 65, one of the hundreds of victims of the July 11 Mumbai local train blasts in 2006. Nine years after the blast, a special court on Friday convicted 12 of the 13 accused. But many of the victims HT spoke to said the conviction can’t heal their wounds.
Pandey was headed to Bandra from Churchgate on July 11, when the blast ripped through one of the coaches in the train, and through the passengers’ lives.
“The train had crossed Mahim when the blast happened. There was a deafening sound, and then darkness. Everyone started running, some jumped off the train,” Pandey said.
12 convicted in 2006 Mumbai train blasts
He recalled how a part of the coach pierced through a young man’s leg while he was attempting to escape seconds after the attack.
Pandey, who stays with his wife, a son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in Bhayandar, retired in 2012. “The place where I worked continued paying me even as I was at home, recuperating. It is a fair verdict but the suffering of the victims cannot be healed,” he said.
Another victim, Dashrath Patel, 49, said the judgment was very late. “The verdict came too late. Nine years is a long time. Everyone should have been convicted and punished. No one responsible for the insane attack should be set free.”
The quantum of punishment in the case will be announced on September 14. The victims want nothing less than death for the terrorists who scarred their lives, and that of their families, forever.
Suhas Tawde, 58, said, “If one person is killed, his whole family is ruined. The terrorists should be hanged. Why should the government spend money on them keeping them alive?”
While some victims followed the developments of the case closely all these years, others tried to move on.
“No punishment can benefit the families, but at least it will bring closure. I have stopped following the developments. Building our lives again is more important for those of us who are suffering,” said Rajesh Jha, a Kandivli-based chartered accountant.
Several victims thanked BJP MP Kirit Somaiya for his help and support during their fight. Padamchand Gandhi said, “Kirit Somaiya helped us in a big way. Had it not been for him, we would not have gotten through the difficult phase.”
Pandey now runs an NGO called Bhartiya Chetna Sangh, involved in distributing free books to school children or sending help to those affected by calamities. “It is not big work what we do, but I find peace in that,” Pandey said.