Can someone tell Sumana her mother’s dead

May 14th, 2008 - 11:31 pm ICT by admin  

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt
Jaipur, May 14 (IANS) She looks with a vacant gaze towards the hospital door waiting for her mother to walk in. Four-year-old Mumbai girl Sumana Khan still doesn’t know that it will be a wait without end - one of the eight bombs that blasted the peace of a busy Jaipur evening killed her mother too. For the young Sumana, who came to Jaipur for her summer holidays with her mother and six-month-old brother, life as she knew it ended Tuesday evening when terrorists struck the heart of the bustling walled city with eight coordinated strikes within 15 minutes.

And mother and daughter became mere statistics. Sumera, 26, one of the 63 people killed in Jaipur’s first major terror attack, and Sumana, 4, one of the 216 injured.

Swathed in a white sheet on a bed at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital and surrounded by crowds of strangers including the media and politicians, the kindergarten student in Mumbai’s St Peters School doesn’t know that her two teenaged aunts have been killed too.

Asma, 16, and Annie, 12, also died while on a happy family evening out — just when they were grabbing a snack outside the National Handloom Center where one of the eight bombs exploded.

Says the bewildered child on bed number eight: “We were all having something to eat when I heard a defeaning voice. The next thing I knew when I regained consciousness was that I was being picked up and being taken to the hospital.”

“I don’t know what happened. I was told that it was a bomb blast,” adds the girl, amongst the youngest survivors of the blast who had probably never heard of the term before but now sports cuts and bruises as proof that she lived through it.

A Congress leader who had come to console Sumana, with a red patch on the left eye and a drip attached to her frail hand, says no one has visited her since morning because everyone had gone to bury the three dead woman.

“Her father, who is a diamond manufacturer, is coming tonight from Mumbai.”

Finding herself alone in strange surroundings, Sumana cries out if someone tries to remove the white sheet covering her injuries.

“There is no pain,” is all she says. And nods when asked if she is feeling hungry.

In a tragedy that has already been repeated many times over, Sumana’s grandmother on hearing the news had a heart attack, discloses a relative.

Sumana’s story is so poignant that former home minister L.K. Advani met her Wednesday afternoon and made a point of mentioning her specifically at his press conference.

“It is a crime against humanity,” a visibly disturbed Advani said as he informed the gathering about a girl who had lost her mother and aunts.

Sumana’s doctor Sanjeev Sharma says she is in a stable condition. “She has a right hip dislocation. But she is stable.”

He is obviously talking about her visible wounds, but the scars run deep and will perhaps never fade. Terrorism has left another lasting legacy.

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