The 2006 serial train blasts in Mumbai will complete five years on July 11, but its trial is still dragging on with justice nowhere in sight for the suffering victims of the tragedy, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kirit Somaiya told a press conference here on Tuesday.
Calling for fast tracking of the trial, Mr. Somaiya said: “The verdict should be out in a year and efforts should be made to nab the 13 absconding accused. It is sad that after five years, the [trial] has just begun in the lowest court. Due to an inordinate delay and the snail’s-pace progress of the judicial proceedings, the victims and families are still suffering from the traumatic experience,” he said.
Mr. Somaiya accused the government of a discriminatory attitude towards the 7/11 trial vis-à-vis the November 26, 2008 terror attack case, which is now at the Supreme Court, following verdicts from the sessions court and the High Court.
“The government pursued the 26/11 case, then why not 7/11? Is it because foreign nationals were killed and there was international pressure? Is it because among those who died were guests at the Taj [Mahal Palace and Tower] hotel?” Mr. Somaiya remarked.
A few victims of the tragedy were present at the conference. Many have spent considerable amounts of money for treatments and continue to reel under medical expenses, which the government compensations could hardly match.
Allwyn D’Couna’s right arm is a mangled mess of flesh. Several surgeries later Mr. D’Couna’s finances received a blow of Rs. 4 lakh. Despite the State Human Rights Commission’s directions to reimburse him, the government is only passing the buck from one department to the other, Mr. D’Couna said.
“When the incident took place, I received Rs. 50,000 from the Railways and Rs. 50,000 from the government. My initial medical bills were also paid. However, in these five years, I have undergone around six surgeries. Two are still pending. I have already incurred around Rs. 4 lakh on my treatment. The government promised us compensation for further medical treatment, but did nothing. After the Commission ordered payment, they even took my bills for verification, but nothing has come of it,” D’Couna told The Hindu.
Parag Sawant, among the most severely injured, still continues to be in hospital. Another victim Mahesh Ponda, had his eardrums ruptured, and underwent successful treatment, but “the compensation was not enough,” he said.
The victims will be meeting Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan with their grievances and demands on July 11. They are also slated to meet President Pratibha Patil, led by Sushma Swaraj.
Criticising the government for going back on its promise, Mr. Somaiya underlined the need for a permanent policy on relief and rehabilitation. Hindu