Mumbai 7/11 Train Blasts: 14 Years On, Survivors Revisit Tragedy
“I woke up in the morning and saw that my hand had been amputated,” recalls a survivor of the 2006 serial blasts
Video Editor: Ashish MacCune
On 11 July 2006, seven bomb blasts ripped through Mumbai in just 11 minutes, killing 209 people and injuring over 700. The target – Mumbai’s local trains during the evening rush hour.
Fourteen years on, survivor Mohammad Sabir Khan is still unable to sleep every time he remembers the blast.
Khan, who was 44-years-old at the time of the incident, was travelling from Mira Road to Vasai. Just as the train left the platform, he remembers hearing a loud blast.
“I was standing on the door of the first-class compartment and there was a blast on my left side. No one understood what had happened. There was panic everywhere. People next to me were injured. I crossed the engine, went towards the back and saw that the door of the compartment had been smashed. Bodies had been blown into smithereens. Hawkers were gathering these body parts and tying them up.”Mohammad Sabir Khan, Mumbai Train Blasts Survivor
Due to the impact of the blast, Khan fractured his hand and his ear drums were damaged. “Even to this day, my hearing is impaired, by 25 percent,” he said.
‘My Hand Had to Be Amputated’
Mahendra Pitale, who was also among the lucky ones to survive the horrific blasts, recalled that he had to leave early to complete some work that was due.
When his train arrived at Jogeshwari station, there was an explosion onboard. What happened over the next few minutes is a blur.
“Initially, I couldn’t understand what was happening, but I remember that I flew out of the train. I then realised that my hand was completely damaged,” he recalled.
“People helped me get admitted to the hospital. At night, doctors told me that my hand would have to be amputated. I woke up the next morning and saw that my hand had been amputated.”Mahendra Pitale, Mumbai Train Blasts Survivor
Having his arm amputated was a huge blow to Pitale, as he was a sculptor. Forced to rethink his career, Pitale had to take up classes in graphic design.
“After some time, I found out that there were prosthetic limbs in the market that work like a normal arm. This lent me a supportive hand and I continued onwards,” he said.
‘Lived in Constant Fear’
Vinit Patil, 30, was just a student in the 12th standard at the time of the blast. He was returning from college and his train had just reached Borivali station when the blast occurred. He jumped off the train to save himself.
“After jumping off the train, I could see that there were dead bodies, people were injured... they had lost their hands, legs. People standing on the platform were helping each other, so that they could reach the hospital on time.”Vinit Patil, Mumbai Train Blasts Survivor
After surviving the horrific incident, Patil battled trauma and rebuilt his life over the next the next few years.
“I was in constant fear and trauma whenever I was traveling. The biggest challenge I faced was to get back on track and continue my education... to be successful in life. I had to overcome my fears. I was treated well during this time, and I completed my education. Today, I have a successful career,” he said.
In September 2015, 12 people were convicted for the blasts. Five men were sentenced to death and seven were awarded life imprisonment. Justice may have been served but the survivors who spoke to The Quint may never truly leave behind the horrors of the 7/11 blasts.
“The message I want to give to all the people who have lost their loved ones and family members is that I have been constantly praying for them every day, so that their souls rest in peace. I pray for their families as well. And to those who are still recovering, I will be praying for them forever.”Vinit Patil, Mumbai Train Blasts Survivor
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