September 5, 2007 12:26:10 am
Forty eight hours after the blasts, it’s not lost on anyone why the bombers chose Hyderabad, that living mosaic of people and cultures which now rivals Bangalore as the country’s software and services-outsourcing hub. Because the target was not Hyderabad, it was India.
The blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat Bhandar were directed at all — from a group of 60 tourists from Tamil Nadu to a group of 45 students from a Maharashtra engineering college, from Muslims to Hindus, from the Saki Naka boy chasing an MBA dream to the village boy who joined college simply because he loved mathematics.
Outside the casualty ward of the Medicity Hospital, 12 boys from states across India — Maharashtra to Jharkhand, UP to Haryana — have been on vigil ever since Saturday night when their injured friends were brought there. The boys say they will not leave because their friends, Hyderabad Central University MCA student Anirudh Kumar from Ranchi in Jharkhand and university alumni Ashwani Kumar from UP, “have no close relatives here”.
On Monday, there were heart-rending scenes in cities and towns across the country as the dead were brought home. Here are snapshots of some of those who fell victim:
• Training programme cut short
Madhya Pradesh railway engineers M K Jain and Ibrahim Khan were among 18 engineers sent to Hyderabad from Jabalpur, Kota and Bhopal divisions. They were being trained in microprocessor-based speedometers for diesel locomotives. Colleagues P K Shukla and R K Chaudhary were injured in the blasts.
• In Saki Naka, end of a dream 19-year-old Irshad Ahmed was one of the seven students of Maharashtra’s Amrutvahini College of Engineering who died in the Lumbini Park blast. Studying electronics, this boy from Saki Naka in Mumbai wanted to pursue an MBA to land the right job. Friends always counted on him for help with studies.
• Orissa doc called mother the same evening In Orissa’s Berhampur, a pall of gloom descended when the body of K V Ananda Rao,a young doctor, was brought home on Monday. “That evening he spoke to me on telephone. I did not realise that was his last call to me,” said K Lalitha Kumari, Rao’s mother and a retired gynaecologist. Thirty one-year-old Rao was doing super-specialisation in medical oncology at the NIMS in Hyderabad.
• Promised mother an Indica Milind Mandage, son of a school teacher from Pimpri Gawali village in Parner in Maharashtra, loved mathematics. Many districts schools and a college later, he joined the Amrutavahini College of Engineering. “He wanted to be an engineer. He told me when I get a job, I will drive you in an Indica,” recalled mother Nandabai.
• Took loan to study electronics 19-year-old Sujeet Kumar Jha from Laheriasarai in Bihar’s Darbhanga was also a student of the Amrutavahini College of Engineering. His father, an Income Tax lawyer, had taken a loan to ensure Sujeet trained in electronics. When the body was flown to Patna on Monday, not a single state government representative was there at the airport. A family friend arranged an ambulance for the 170-km journey to Laheriasarai.
• A junket gone all wrong 45-year-old Vallabh Fefar, a mattress distributor from Rajkot, was on a 4-day trip to Hyderabad, sponsored by a mattress company. While other distributors opted for shopping, he preferred to take his family to the laser show. One of his sons, Yash, has been severely injured. The family had moved into their new bungalow only a month ago. Fefar was planning to inaugurate his second shop on August 28.
• The rakhi waits for him
Kiran Chaudhari, also from the Amrutavahini College of Engineering, was from Kalyan near Mumbai. Father Arunkumar identified Kiran from a photograph in the newspapers: it showed his son bleeding, the head resting on a seat in the Lumbini Park stands. Sister Kirti had posted the rakhi well in advance this year, confident that Kiran would get it when he returned from Hyderabad.
• A warrant officer’s son
Before he opted for electronics at Amrutvahini, Saurabh Kumar, son of IAF warrant officer Krishna Deo Kumar (from Samastipur in Bihar, he is currently posted at Bareilly), was studying Computer Science at the Symbiosis in Pune.
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