Watching the coverage of this month’s Paris attacks on TV, Sajid Abdul Khalid, 43, got the shudders. The businessman and Dongri resident was among those injured during the 26/11 terror siege, shot outside CST while on his way home.
“Watching the TV coverage was like reliving it,” he says. “How can they do this again and again; kill the innocent, children, the elderly. It’s enough to make you lose faith in humanity. No religion sanctions this.”
On 26/11, Khalid was riding towards Fort on his motorcycle when he heard shots fired. “No one knew what was happening. Everyone was scared. People started telling us to turn around,” he says.
Rather than proceed towards the Taj Hotel and Leopold Café, where attacks were underway, he turned around and ended up at CST subway, not knowing it would see the worst carnage.
“When I got to CST subway, I saw cops standing guard. They said we shouldn’t go further,” he said. “Suddenly, the subway lights went out and two men ran out of the tunnel, carrying huge guns. Everything happened so fast, it’s still a blur. I heard a sound like fireworks and felt a stinging in my leg. I looked down to see I was bleeding. The policeman standing next to me was gushing blood from all over. They had fired at us as they passed by.”
It took a while for bystanders to gather their wits. “A stranger took me to GT Hospital on his bike.” It was at GT that Khalid began to sense the scale of what was unfolding. “There was utter chaos. People had come from all over, saying there had been gunfire and explosions.” Khalid waited a while and then took a taxi to Bombay Hospital. Back home, his wife, mother and three children were watching the attacks on TV, trying desperately to reach his phone. “I was in the taxi when my wife and I finally spoke. I told her I had been shot and she started crying. These terrorists have no religion. They don’t understand the value of life, of family.”
Khalid’s was a flesh wound. “The bullet had passed through my thigh and my wallet. I have saved those damaged notes and coins as reminders that you never know what will hit you.”