‘Surrounded by chaos, we had lost all hopes’
With the police nowhere in sight, Dhirendra Rathore and his family were left to fend for themselves just like thousands of others in Cairo after the unrest that has swept across Egypt.india Updated: Feb 02, 2011 00:34 IST
With the police nowhere in sight, Dhirendra Rathore and his family were left to fend for themselves just like thousands of others in Cairo after the unrest that has swept across Egypt.
Recounting the horrific clashes that spilled on Egyptian streets, Dhirendra said, "Let off from jails, criminals beat up policemen, looted ATMs, banks, malls and houses. Beneath our house in Madi area in Cairo, gunshots kept renting the air. We were virtually under house arrest for four agonising days with no contact with the outside world."
Now safely back in their Noida home, Rathore and his wife Sangeeta and their two small children had lost all hopes of surviving the bloody clash.
So much so that they were still in shock when a special Air India flight with 320 Indians from Cairo landed at the Mumbai airport on Monday.
Now in the safe confines of their Garima Vihar residence in Noida's sector 35, Rathore said, "I'm sales head with an MNC (textile) there. It's been four years now. We always knew there was a simmering anger. People wanted to end the police state rule and laws restricting political activity, democratic elections. People also wanted to end cronyism and corruption, more jobs and better pay. But it was hard to imagine that things could get this bad."
Dhirendra's children Tejaswini (7) and Yuvraj (5) looked too shocked to speak. They kept sobbing, sometimes crying. Their mother was also reluctant to relive the horror. "You can see we're alive, what more can I say?" she said.
Trying to regain his composure, Dhirendra said, "A flight was arranged but we were left to fend for ourselves. We did not know how to reach the airport. There was no food, water at the airport. Even when the flight finally took off day before yesterday, we were not very hopeful."
"Our government could have been more sensitive in times of crisis. Against the normal $400 for a return ticket flight, they charged us $1000 for a one-way trip," he added.
There are about 3,600 Indians in Egypt, over 2,000 of them in Cairo.