Mothers hushed their babies as terrorists struck Cama HospitalDecember 7th, 2008 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, Dec 7 (IANS) Ten days after the outrage, the stories are still pouring forth. Burqa-clad and cradling her baby in her arms, Sahira Sheikh walked out of the quiet premises of the Cama hospital Saturday, recalling with chilling horror how on Nov 26 she, like many young mothers, had to keep nursing her baby to prevent him from crying as terrorists struck. “I was admitted in the hospital just a day before the incident took place. I had developed some complications after my delivery, but after what we went through that night, my only aim was to get out of this place alive with my baby,” Sahira told IANS.
She was back at the hospital for a check-up, but the place now resembles a fortress with more security personnel visible than doctors and patients. But Sahira still shudders at the nightmarish happenings of Nov 26 night.
Admitted to the charitable hospital Nov 25, Sahira was taking a nap on the fateful Wednesday with her baby by her side when she heard a lot of commotion outside.
“Suddenly the nurse ran in and told us that there was some shooting outside. She shut the door, drew the curtains and switched off the lights. In order to keep the babies from crying, she advised us to breast-feed them,” she said.
Sahira’s eyes moistened and she held her baby closer as she continued to recollect the horror of that night.
“Everything was so sudden that I was trembling with fear. But the nurse kept telling us to hush down and just keep our babies from crying. At that point of time, all I could think was how to save my child who is not even a month old,” she said.
The nightmare - a memory that women like Sahira will probably never forget - lasted for more than five hours, till it was declared that the terrorists were no longer in the hospital building.
According to one of the nurses, most of the young mothers in the hospital Nov 26 chose to be discharged the next morning, despite doctors advising some of them against it.
Kalyani Dev, whose friend Mariam underwent a caesarean that morning, told IANS: “Thankfully Mariam’s mother decided to stay with her that night and she had some kind of support.”
“Scared and in pain, she was immediately brought back home the next morning. How can you stay in the hospital which just had a terror attack? What if there was a repeat of the incident?” she added.
Cama Hospital was one of the 10 places where terrorists struck Nov 26. Apart from the hospital, the attackers laid siege to city landmarks like the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel and the Oberoi Trident Hotel. The horrific drama that lasted 60 hours claimed as many as 172 lives.