Time lies frozen for victims of Ahmedabad blasts

August 26th, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Aug 26 (IANS) A nine-year-old burns patient who is yet to be told that his father and brother have died, a doctor who is under severe depression after losing a leg…One need only step into the hospitals of Gujarat to know of the lingering trauma of the serial blasts here a month ago that killed 56 people. The 22 blasts on July 26 also injured nearly 200 people, and the lives of many of them have changed forever.

“Dr Parthasarathy is very depressed,” said Srikant Lagvankar, a doctor at the plastic surgery department of Apollo Hospital at Bhat, Gandhinagar. Parthasarathy was severely injured in the blast at the Civil Hospital that killed 39 people.

An instructor at the ‘108′ emergency ambulance service, he had rushed with three of his teammates at 6.30 p.m. July 26 to Maninagar to pick up blast victims. As the 108 team arrived at the Civil Hospital, an explosion hit the doctors, injuring all four. They were admitted to Apollo Hospital.

Though the other three have been discharged, Parthasarthy is still in hospital. His left leg has been amputated below the knee. In his right leg, the tendon above the heel is damaged.

“He is also struggling with 28 percent burns,” Srikant told IANS here Tuesday. “He will need at least five percent skin grafting.”

“His discharge can happen much later as it is too risky to send him home. Unmarried, his only solace is his mother who is near him. It will take a long time before he comes out of depression,” said Srikant.

Nine-year-old Yash too lies at Apollo Hospital. He still does not know that the explosions claimed the lives of his father, Dushyant Vyas, a laboratory assistant at the Cancer Hospital in Civil Hospital, and his elder brother Rohan, 11. His father, in fact, died on the spot.

Yash still has 25 percent burns compared to 50 percent earlier and requires skin grafting. Though his limbs are ready, his back is not, Srikant said.

For the skin grafting on his back, at least another 14 days are needed, he said. There are still burn injuries on his right ear and that too needs surgery, Srikant said. However, Yash is taking his normal food.

He has been told that his father and brother are recovering in a different ward of the hospital, he added. But Yash could face severe psychological depression once he realises that his father and brother are no more, the doctor said.

The tale of Megha Durbar, 7, who is at Medisurge Hospital here is not very different. Her father, Popat Durbar, came to the Civil Hospital with her on that fateful evening when the blast occurred. Popat was buying medicines when the blast ripped the surroundings, killing 39, including him.

“Megha is in Medisurge for a checkup. It has been wrongly reported that she is suffering from thalassemia. She is suffering from blood cancer and unlike thalassemia where blood transfusion is needed every 21 days there is no such need in the case of blood cancer,” Bharat Gadhavi, a doctor, told IANS.

“We have decided to give her chemotherapy treatment free of cost,” Gadhavi said.

Gadhavi said as Megha is only seven years old, she has not fully understood the calamity that has befallen her. She still seems unaware of her father’s death, he said.

A month after the blasts, Ahmedabad is calm. Life is going on as usual. Gujarat Police say security has been tightened everywhere.

While 10 people have been arrested in connection with the blasts - nine from Gujarat itself - some say the police may simply be playing to the gallery. Gujarat Police have blamed the terror acts on SIMI.

R.B. Sreekumar, the former director general of police, said terrorist resource centres, sanctuaries and associates have remained untraced even as the police’s approach of arresting and prosecuting people to earn temporary plaudits ends up rounding up the wrong people.

Western Railway has increased the number of CCTV cameras from 13 to 20 at the Kalupur railway station in Ahmedabad. The footage from the CCTVs is recorded 24 hours in a control room.

The Airports Authority of India too has tightened security. Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) has deployed additional security personnel at all bus depots and terminals in the state.

The state government has also called for enhanced security at shopping malls and multiplex cinema theatres.

But no one is sure if these measures can stave off more terror acts in Ahmedabad. Schools and colleges even now have only cursory security.

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