26/11 hero who had identified Ajmal Kasab and braved bullets dies
Harishchandra Shrivardhankar, a key witness in the 26/11 case, died at his house in Kalyan in Maharashtra’s Thane district on Tuesday.
“His helping nature and concern for others is what we miss when he is no more with us. He had recovered from all his illness and was home with us for around 12 days before he died of cardiac arrest,” said Shrivardhankar’s elder son.
Shrivardhankar had identified terrorist Ajmal Kasab during the 26/11 terror attacks trial. As per his family, he died at his residence in Kalyan’s Yogidham area.
Shrivardhankar was hit by two bullets on the night of November 26, 2008, when 10 Pakistani terrorists had attacked Mumbai, near Cama Hospital in south Mumbai. According to a report in Hindustan Times in 2010, Shrivardhankar was one of the main witnesses who deposed before a special court.
HT had reported on May 5 how Shrivardhankar, who was found lying helpless on the footpath near a shop at Saat Rasta, Chinchpokli, Mumbai on April 29, and was reunited with his family by the store owner Dean D’Souza and his friends on May 1.
“Our local doctor who checked him said it was a cardiac arrest. We had just bought him home from hospital on May 15 as doctors said he had recovered. He was also talking properly. We had maintained a proper diet for him,” said Mangesh Shrivardhankar, 42, his elder son.
His son confirmed Shrivardhankar was 68.
“Even after the attack he resumed his work with food and civil supplies department and continued for one year till retirement. He used to talk about the incident to his colleagues a lot. He recollected the incident all the time and that somewhere affected him mentally,” said Mangesh.
When Harishchandra Shrivardhankar was reunited from his family on May 1, his health condition had deteriorated, he had a leg injury and harldy spoke. As per his family, he suffered memory loss and had left home earlier in March. The family had lodged a missing complaint at the Khadakpada police station in Kalyan (West).
“Like every day he went down to roam in our locality. He used to often meet his friends after retirement. That day he didn’t return and we kept searching. He was a social person who loved helping others, meeting people and also reach out for those in help,” said Mangesh, who works in a private firm.
Shrivandhankar is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter all of whom are married.
The family has got help from local corporator Daya Gaikwad who managed to get Rs 10 lakh help from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited him at the private hospital in Kalyan and announced the monetary help from the party.
“We have received a cheque from the party which is yet to clear and is still in process. We are thankful to all those who came forward to help us in our difficult times,” said Mangesh.
“It gives us immense relief that we could look after him for some days before he left us. During his missing period he suffered leg injury which was also treated at the hospital,” he added.
Daya Gaikwad who attended his final rites said, “The monetary help which was announced by the party will be given. They come from a middle class family and the money will definitely help them. We are glad that atleast we could take care of the braveheart for few days.”
Former mayor of Kalyan, Rajendra Deolekar, who also attended the rituals said, “His nature of helping the others, the nation and his bravery will also remain in our heart. He has set an example for others. Being a common man he took all the risks and fought for the country.”