Hyderabad: The horror of the bloodbath and mayhem at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on that fateful night of November 26, 2008 is still fresh in the mind of Noorjahan Begum.
The horrific scenes of her newly-wed daughter succumbing to the bullets of terrorists and her husband lying injured in the pool of blood continue to haunt her.
Noorjahan, now 56, told IANS from her home town Nizamabad over phone that she was waiting at the station along with her husband, their daughter who had married only six months ago, their son and granddaughter after missing a train back home to Nizamabad.
They had gone to Mumbai to offer a thanksgiving prayer at the Haji Ali Dargah for Amina Begum’s marriage. As fate would have it, they missed Devagiri Express and had no option to wait at the station for the next available train.
Around 9.20 p.m., when they were all settled down like many other waiting passengers, sounds of gunshots sent panic in the station and people were seen running helter-skelter.
Amina Begum (20) was among 58 victims of two Pakistani terrorists including Ajmal Kasab, who was later captured alive and sentenced to death in 2012.
“The attackers suddenly appeared there and started firing indiscriminately. Even before I could realize what was happening, my daughter and husband were lying on the ground,” recalled Noorjahan, who escaped with splinter injuries along with a son and granddaughter.
“My daughter who was a bride of just six months was lying dead in the pool of blood with a bullet piercing through her neck,” said Noorjahan crying inconsolably.
“There was blood all around. Blood was oozing out from my forehead and my feet were soaked in blood spilled on the ground. There was also heavy smoke,” she said, recounting the horror.
Noorjahan’s husband Abdul Rasheed suffered bullet injuries on his hand, thigh and foot. The injuries left him handicapped and bed-ridden and finally led to his death in 2011.
“My father was the sole breadwinner for the family. He was an auto-rickshaw driver and also used to work in a factory manufacturing cement pipes. His thumb was severed due to bullet injury and he could never recover,” Sheikh Anees told IANS.
Noorjahan’s health also took a toll due to the shock over the killing of her daughter before her eyes and later the death of her husband.
“She developed blood pressure and diabetes and whenever she remembers that fateful night, she goes into depression. We don’t remind her anything about that tragedy,” said Anees, an auto-rickshaw driver.
He said the family not only lost two members but also suffered psychological trauma and slipped into financial problems.
Noorjahan lamented that the family did not receive help though the government had assured them that a job will be provided. “I have multiple health problems and all my children are doing menial jobs for survival,” she said.
Anees feels that things could have been better for the family if a member was provided a government job.
Two other families from Telangana had lost their loved ones in the terror attacks that had rocked India’s financial capital.
Vijay Rao Bhanja (47), chief executive chef at Taj Hotel, was killed in the attack on the famous star hotel. According to his family, he was trapped in the kitchen on the first floor of the hotel.
After hearing about the terror attack, they had called him over his mobile phone and he informed them that he is safe along with others in the kitchen.
Later, they received the shocking news from his friends that he was shot dead by terrorists when he was helping his colleagues to get out of the kitchen.
Vijay’s family suffered another blow nine months later when his wife Fareeda, who was working with visually challenged children in Mumbai, died in sleep due to cardiac arrest.
Another person from Hyderabad who lost his life in 26/11 attacks was Lakshmi Narayana Haridwarilal Goel (57).
The lawyer was killed when an IED exploded in the taxi he was travelling in near Vile Parle. He was returning to a relative’s house in Mumbai after missing the train to Hyderabad from CST.