Don’t worry and take care, Sonia tells Jaipur blast survivors (Lead)

May 15th, 2008 - 7:46 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi
By Kavita Bajeli-Datt
Jaipur, May 15 (IANS) “Kahan lagi hai? Kuch dekha tha kya,” (Where does it hurt? Did you see anything?) Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked a badly hurt 50-year-old Roshan Lal Sharma, one of the survivors of the terror bomb blasts here that have killed at least 61 people and injured 216. When Sharma’s 45-year-old wife Vimla Devi, overcome with emotion, bent down to touch Gandhi’s feet, Gandhi said: “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”

On a daylong visit of the Pink City Thursday, Gandhi also visited the walled city areas that were targeted by the eight coordinated blasts Tuesday evening.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson was accompanied by the central government’s Home Minister Shivraj Patil and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

Wearing a cream-coloured sari with a red border, Gandhi tried to talk to most of the 111 injured admitted for treatment at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital here.

“She saw my wounds and asked me whether the doctors are giving me proper treatment. She spoke in Hindi and was looking genuinely concerned with our pain,” Sharma said.

Working as a cashier at the Bajrang Sweets Caterers next to the Hanuman Temple at the Sanganeri Gate where the most powerful of the eight blasts occurred Tuesday evening, Sharma said he had a miraculous escape.

“If I had not had a handkerchief in my shirt pocket, I would have died. A pellet hit my chest, but because of the handkerchief, it deflected and went out. I would have died if it had hit me and pierced my heart,” Sharma told IANS.

Eighteen-year-old Pankaj Kumar, who works as a cook in a home, said he was injured when he was just entering the temple.

Talking about Gandhi, he said: “She stood at the bedside of every patient and talked to them about their condition. When she came to me, she told me that I have to be strong and not be scared and I will be all right.”

Gandhi, who landed here at 9.30 a.m., went straight to the Hanuman Temple in Sanganeri Gate.

The blast spot, where a small crater has formed, was deserted when Gandhi visited as a precautionary daytime curfew was imposed till 4 p.m. She also went to Badi Chopar area nearby where two blasts had occurred. She then visited the injured.

When Gandhi met Sanjay Bhatia, 44, the sole bread earner of his family of five, she sought full details of how he sustained the injuries - he has two fractures and doctors were waiting for the swelling from his leg to subside before they would remove pellets that are embedded.

“She showed keen interest in learning how I got injured. She kept on asking me then what happened,” said Bhatia, who had gone to the Hanuman temple.

“I had just finished reading Hanuman chalisa when the blast happened. The impact was so strong that the prasad in my hand was thrown away and I was lifted high in the sky before I fell on the ground. All around me people were being thrown apart in a similar fashion,” he said.

Gandhi told Bhatia, who runs a small business, not to worry. “She said everything would be fine soon. I just have to take care of myself and not worry,” he added.

Gandhi, however, could not meet four-year-old Suhana, whose mother and two aunts died in the bomb blast, as she was shifted in the morning to the neurosurgery ward for an operation.

According to the hospital’s medical superintendent Narpat Singh Sekhawat the Congress leader met the victims, housed in three wards, and spent more than half an hour at the hospital.

Twenty minutes before Gandhi’s visit, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje also came to the state-run hospital and talked to the patients asking about their welfare.

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