For Ramesh Gowda,who lost an eye in the Zaveri Bazar blast of 2003,Mondays conviction represents a triumph of justice. But for photographer Rajiv Ranjan,injured in the Gateway of India blast of 2003,the verdict does not necessarily mean a deterrent to terrorism.
The conviction evoked different reactions from survivors and victims. What united them is the bitterness that remains six years after the blasts changed their lives.
Gowda lost not only an eye but also his job as a waiter. He now helps out at a sandwich stall outside the hotel where he once worked.
Ranjan recalled,One moment I was trying to persuade tourists to have their photo taken; the next moment I was writhing in pain. For over three months I was in bed,with deep gashes on my torso and limbs and a hole in my palm. Life went on and so did terror attacks,like the train blasts and then 26/11. Even after they are punished,terror acts will continue,wont they? asked Ranjan.
The pain lingers for Rama Shettuppa Patil,42,who too lost an eye in the Zaveri Bazar blast. He remains a waiter at Sharda Hotel,where he has now worked for 15 years.
The blast not only cost me an eye,but also gave a blow to my dignity,my confidence, he says,his one good eye filled with tears. For months I had to literally beg from my family and my wifes relatives for money for my treatment. For years we have shuddered at the mere memory of those days. Today when I arrived,I was told the accused will be pronounced guilty. I hope they will be hanged, said Patil.
Sonba Sakharam Devrikar,a 50-year-old worker at a sugarcane stall,now limps to work everyday. The bone has never mended and the pain frequently returns. It is heartening to know that the accused will be punished and it should be a deterrent to others, he said. But what do we victims have? Our chances of a better livelihood are crippled, he said.
At the jewellery shops at the Zaveri Bazar lane hit by the blast,there is ecstasy. Its Mumbadevis blessings that we are all alive today. We live in constant fear; the verdict is like a reassurance, said Ashok Jain,owner of Chenaji Narsingh Jewellers.
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