Revisiting 26/11: Survivor describes the horrific account of the attack

Wearing a yellow dress, 19-year-old Devika Rotavan beams like the sun as she looks up from her book. Preparing for her mid-term exams of class 11, the youngest witness of the 26/11 terror attacks seems confident as the day she stood up against terror and lifted her finger to identify Ajmal Kasab in court about nine years ago. That day is as fresh in Devika's mind, as her newly wrapped up teddy bear presented to her by a Rajasthan NGO for her bravery. After 10 years of the terror attacks where Devika had suffered a bullet injury on her leg from Kasab's gun, says that she had seen the monster's face before she collapsed. Devika was at Mumbai's Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus with her father and her brother when two terrorists opened fire. She was shot in the right leg, and had to use crutches for a long time. “I want to be an IPS officer and fight terrorism and bring justice to all those who have suffered like me and my baba (father),” saidDevika. For her bravery and courage to be a witness in the trial against Kasab, Devika have written . Devika, who is travels to CSMT every day to get to college said, “Mile sab…..taareef sabne ki par Koi kuch madad nahi karta,” I met several actors and politicians including the Chief Minster but we are still struggling to keep up and survive. In the past 10 years, she has learnt to talk in front of the cameras and just tells her story in one breadth. “I go and stand at the same spot sometimes where I was shot by that monster. I stand there and close my eyes and feel I have travelled back in time reliving the moment in. I feel I am standing there still and the world is moving in a fast forward mode. It is scary but it reminds me of the promise I have made to myself,” said Devika. It took courage for the Rotawanas to lead a normal life as everybody they knew were convinced that Devika and her father were in danger and the terrorists would find out about their trial. “Till the trial, we used to receive threat calls but that did not for one bit deter us. The lawyers had prepped us but I said what I saw,” says Devika's father Natwarlal. In the past ten years have not broken Devika, instead they have made her mode focused and articulate. The only thing the family needs now is a house and financial backing for Devika's education, “We were promised a house but have just got promises till date, we have been living in a 12 feet by 12 feet room in Bandra east,” added Natwarlal.

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Sunday, September 25, 2022
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