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NRI escapes Norway's island of death

When the gun fell silent on Norway's Utoeya island, Prableen Kaur, an 18-year-old, found herself lying on top of a dead body in the woods, with two more bodies piled on top of her. She had to lay like that for an hour. Dipankar De Sarkar reports.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2011 08:45 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar
Dipankar De Sarkar

When the gun fell silent on Norway's Utoeya island, Prableen Kaur, an 18-year-old, found herself lying on top of a dead body in the woods, with two more bodies piled on top of her. She had lay like that for an hour.

Minutes earlier, as she played dead, trying not to breath, her mobile phone had rung. The killer, right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik, lurked nearby, stalking his innocent young victims, 93 of whom died.

Now Prableen’s blog about Friday’s massacre has become an Internet sensation. "I had a guardian angel," writes Prableen, vice chairperson of the Oslo division the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing. Hundreds have posted messages comforting her.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/28_07_11-metro17.jpg

On Sunday, Prableen and her family — father Malkeet Singh, a cab driver from Patiala, mother, brother and sister — offered prayers at the local Gurdwara in Oslo. The teenager is at home now, recovering from the nightmare, her father told HT.

In a country that is home to some 5,000 Sikhs, a second Indian-origin teenager, Pratap Singh, 15, also survived the massacre.

When a bomb exploded at the Labour party office in Oslo, killing seven people, Prableen wrote in her blog, “We comforted one another that we were safe on an island. No-one knew that hell would break out among us as well.”

Then shots ran out in Utoeya. “I saw him shoot. Everyone began to run. The first thought was, ‘Why is the police shooting at us? What the hell?!’”

The teenagers ran into a room as Breivik continued to shoot and jumped out of a window. She spotted her best friend through the window but couldn’t get to him. She “saw the fear in his eyes.”

They ran into the woods, stopping only to help the injured as they made their way down to the lake Tyrifjorden that surrounds the island, 40 km from Oslo. Crouching behind a brick wall along with others, she prayed, cried and called her family and friends from her mobile phone.

“A man came. ‘I am from the police’.” Someone shouted back that he had to prove it, and the killer started to shoot. “He reloaded. Shot more. He shot those around me. I remained lying. I thought: ‘Now it is over. He is here.”

Prableen lay there for an hour, buried under dead bodies.

Then she ran for the lake and, tearing off her jumper, began to swim, heading for a rubber boat several children were clinging on to.

She became so tired she turned on her back, using only her feet to paddle.

Rescued by police, the children were taken to a hotel, where she was reunited with her best friend.

“I don’t manage to sleep any more,” Prableen writes.