Mumbai man cycles to Delhi as tribute to 26/11 victims

January 30th, 2009 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilNew Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Vinod Punmiya, a resident of Mumbai, was so moved by the Nov 26 terror attack in the nation’s financial capital that he decided to cycle down to Delhi as a tribute to the martyrs and victims of the dastardly strike. Punmiya was received in New Delhi by President Pratibha Patil Friday at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The 53-year-old embarked on his mission ‘Wheel to Heal’ from The Gateway of India in Mumbai Jan 26 and reached India Gate in Delhi Friday, cycling a distance of 1,400 km in about three-and-half days at a speed of 50 km/hr.

“I was really moved by the incident and wanted to do something different as my homage to the martyrs and victims of the Mumbai terror attack last year,” said Punmiya, a professional cyclist.

He cycled about 350 km per day and was accompanied by a team of doctors, friends and family members.

“I had decided to pedal from Mumbai to Delhi on Nov 30, 2008, the day all terrorists were shot dead by security forces after several hours of gunbattle. Besides giving tribute to those killed in the terror attack, I also wanted to spread a message of peace and unity in the country,” said Punmiya, who runs a business of imitation jewellery in Mumbai.

Punmiya’s commitment can be seen from the fact that he has been practicing daily for six hours for the last two months.

“I used to cycle down daily from Mumbai to Pune to practice. It was the support of my family and friends that made the mission successful,” he said.

Congratulating Punmiya, President Patil said: “It is a thing of great pride that he cycled from Mumbai to pay homage to those killed in Mumbai. The Mumbai attack had shocked the world and people should put up a united fight against terrorism”.

Punmiya, who is a four-time winner of the King of the Ghat title at the Mumbai-Pune cycle race, especially purchased a racing cycle from the US worth Rs.1 million for the event. He received monetary support from some corporate houses.

“It’s a special racing cycle made of carbon with 10 gears and has a maximum speed of 120 km/hr,” said Punmiya, who once out-raced the Deccan Queen, the prestigious train running between Mumbai and Pune, by five minutes.

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