Bhatkal's arrest could give more clues to Delhi bombings

Bhatkal's arrest could give more clues to Delhi bombings

The arrest of Yasin Bhatkal and his  has given Delhi police hope of nabbing the other conspirators involved in the Sep 13, 2008 serial terror bombings in Delhi even as the kin of those killed in the attack continue to eke out a miserable existence.

Bhatkal and Akhtar, who were arrested last month from the India-Nepal border, are in custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The two are named in the charge sheet filed by police in the bombing that killed 26 people and injured 133. Five near synchronous blasts had hit Connaught Place, Barakhamba Road, Gaffar Market and Greater Kailash Sep 13 evening. Three live bombs were detected in dustbins at Connaught Place, India Gate and outside Regal Cinema.

With Bhatkal, the Indian Mujahideen co-founder, and Akhtar the number of arrests in the case has gone to 16. "We are hopeful of Bhatkal spilling more information, getting more names of the conspirators," a police source told IANS, declining to be identified.

"At least 16 people, including Indian Mujahideen terrorists Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, have been arrested till now. Some more people are still named in the case who are yet to be arrested," said S.N. Srivastava, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), told IANS.

In Gaffar Market, where several people were killed, life seems to have stood still for Meera Devi, 90. She lost four members of her family -- her son-in-law and three grandchildren, who were close to her and looked after her.

Lying on a cot under a peepal tree, her present home, Meera cannot forget that day. Those killed were her son-in-law Harshan, 50, her unmarried granddaughters Saroj, 30, and Puja and her 26-year-old grandson Ashok.

Saroj and Ashok were the children of Harshan, while Puja was the daughter of one of her daughters who resides in Haryana.

"I was sitting near this peepal tree that day. I had gone to take a bath after repeated entreaties by Saroj. Suddenly, I heard an ear-splitting sound. I thought the earth had cracked. Bodies were lying here and there," Meera, her eye brimming with tears, recalled to IANS.

"Oh god! Why didn't you take my life in place of my darling Saroj whom I brought up from her childhood? Why have you taken the life of Harshan who took care of me more than my own children?," Meera's voice choked.

Meera has been struggling to earn a livelihood after the death of her relatives. She sells cardboard to be able to buy a breath inhaler and food.

The story of Bhagwanti, 60, is similar. She lost her elder son Ganga Prasad alias Billu, 40, and eight other family members in the bombing.

Bhagwanti told IANS that she was making tea for Billu when he returned from work.

"Amma chai ubalo mey abhi aa raha hun (mother make me some tea, I am coming within a few minutes), these were his last words that keep coming to my mind. A few minutes after he left the home I heard a big bang. The whole area was filled with smoke and dust," Bhagwanti said. Her younger son Nand Kishore, 35, also received a severe head injury, but he is alive, she told IANS.

Another woman residing in Gaffar Market, Saroj, 46, lost her only son Raju, 25, in the bombing and is now struggling to eke out a living with her meagre income along with her son's wife Yasoda and grandson Rahul, seven years old.

Rahul was two years old then and does not know how his father died but he can explain that his father was killed in an act done "by some bad elements of society who should be hanged".

Meera, like the others, is unaware that Bhatkal, one of the key perpetrators of the blast has been arrested. But she demands that those behind the bombing should be hanged.
"Mere bachchon ko marne walon ko phansi de do (hang those who killed my children)," she said.

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