At first, Jamiluddin thought robbers had stopped the train. When he looked out, he saw it was up in flames.
“When I saw the burning coach, I shouted to everyone to run for their lives,” said the 74-year-old, seated inside his two-room house at Delhi’s Turkman Gate.
“I was called around two-three years ago to a Panchkula court to identify the accused. I really don’t recognise anyone and that’s what I told the court,” said Jamiluddin, who runs a shop.
On Wednesday evening, his children dissuaded him from remembering that night. “It disturbs him, he will fall sick,” said a family member.
“I was going to attend my grandson’s wedding in Pakistan and was carrying jewellery and gifts for my daughter, sister-in-law and other relatives. I didn’t have time to jump out with my bags and lost all the jewellery I had packed in them . I also hurt my back but was relieved to be alive,” recalled Jamiluddin.
He said he has not followed the case and was “not bothered” by the verdict.
“I don’t want to have anything to do with this train anymore,” he said.
Ishtikar Ali, who is a resident of Ghaziabad was seated two coaches from the ill-fated coach of the Samjhauta Express when he was woken up by stone-pelting on the window of the train . “The villagers were throwing stones, they were trying to alert us of a huge fire. Hundreds of people had come out of the train. We came to know later that several people had died,” he said. “I have not visited Pakistan since, even though I have family there . It is not fear, but just a memory that keeps reminding you what could have happened.”
Also on the train was advocate Tahir, who was travelling with wife Uzma to Lahore in Pakistan . He was woken by the chaos after the blast in the train.
“We got down hurriedly from the train with our luggage. The security officials came and checked our passports. Anything could have happened,” recalled Tahir.