September 26, 2013 5:57:12 am
Attending a cooking competition at the Westgate mall on Saturday ended as a tragedy for the family of 15-year-old Neha Mashru. Neha,whose family hails from Jamnagar,was in the parking lot of the mall at around 11.30 am. She was participating in under-18 cooking championship when terrorists opened indiscriminate fire. Neha,along with her eight-year-old cousin Bansri,mother Richa,aunt Hetal,and friend Roshni darted towards the exit. As the rest of the group reached the exit,Neha collapsed. Richa (37) reached out to check on her. It took Richa a couple of minutes to grasp the situation when she saw blood oozing out from the bullet wound on Nehas neck.
Nehas uncle Rajesh Mashru said over the phone from Nairobi,As soon as we got the news about the attack,we rushed to the mall. We waited outside as security forces did not let us in. We tried calling our family members,but could not get through. At around 4 pm,we got news from security forces that Neha had been rushed to a hospital. We thought she must have been injured,but when we reached there,we were directed to the mortuary.
Richa is recuperating at a local hospital. Rajesh said,Initially,we did not tell her about Nehas death. The news has now been broken to her and she is inconsolable, he said,adding that the terrorists questioned them about their religion. They asked everyone whether they were Muslims. They said,if you are Muslim you can go,but if you are not,you must pay the price. I want to tell these people that they have no religion. If they have a grudge against the authorities,they must resolve it with the authorities and not kill innocent children.
The family runs a business in auto parts and hardware in Nairobi. Rajesh remembered his niece,who was the head girl in her school and a talented dancer. The loss has been most difficult to cope with for his daughter,Bansri. Bansri and my wife are in a state of shock, he added.
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