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She breaks silence, recounts IISc terror

DR SONIA, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow (IIM-L) on Saturday finally agreed to talk to the media about the ?terrorist attack at IISc Bangalore? where a professor was killed and several others, including her, were injured.Putting up a brave front, despite being hit on the eye, Dr Sonia who arrived at the management institute along with her husband Narendra Singh on Friday afternoon, told newspersons that it was a ?sheer act of terror and cowardice? on part of those who orchestrated the attack on scientists.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2006 00:44 IST

DR SONIA, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow (IIM-L) on Saturday finally agreed to talk to the media about the ‘terrorist attack at IISc Bangalore’ where a professor was killed and several others, including her, were injured.

Putting up a brave front, despite being hit on the eye, Dr Sonia who arrived at the management institute along with her husband Narendra Singh on Friday afternoon, told newspersons that it was a “sheer act of terror and cowardice” on part of those who orchestrated the attack on scientists.

Dr Sonia said that for sometime she was numb, but then she said that, “such things cannot stop normal life to move on.”

Asserting that she was not an “eyewitness” of the attack, she said that it was just a coincidence that she got hit. “We just came in the line of fire by accident. The terrorists were firing indiscriminately and we happened to be there at the wrong time,” the assistant professor said.

She said that she was going to take part in another session at the IISC conference when the incident took place. Along with her were her mentor Prof MC Puri, who got killed, Prof Pankaj Gupta and Prof CS Lalita. “We were walking when we suddenly heard the sound of gunfire. It appeared that high decibel crackers were being exploded. When we turned back, we saw Prof Puri get hit by bullets. I and my colleague Pankaj Gupta, too, got injured. Only Prof Lalita was lucky to escape unhurt,” she recalled. Despite being hit on the eye and falling down, Dr Sonia bravely faced the situation. She put one hand on her injured eye and started running towards the lecture room.

“Some people called for an ambulance, but finally the organiser Mathirajan took me to hospital,” she reminisced.

Reiterating her belief that there were no “particular targets” that the terrorists probably were aiming at, she said that she and others got injured simply because they came in the way of the terrorists.

She said even after they were hit, the terrorists kept firing. She said that it was highly unlikely that the terrorists were looking to target either Prof Puri or Prof Kasturirangan. Asked about the security arrangements there, Dr Sonia said that initially such things did not strike them. “We often go to take part in seminars and conferences and rarely do we think about security arrangements.” Would she think twice before participating in international conferences and seminars what with reports indicating that scientists and academic institutions were the latest targets of terrorists, Dr Sonia boldly replied, “Of course, I would participate.”

First Published: Jan 01, 2006 00:44 IST