I want to have dinner with my kids just once: Samjhauta survivor

February 18th, 2008 - 8:36 pm ICT by admin  

By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Rana Shaukat Ali from Pakistan cannot hold back his tears as he talks about wanting to have dinner “at least once” with five of his children who died in the Samjhauta Express terror blast exactly a year back. “I am the father of five kids who were martyred inside the train. There is not a single day when I have not cried or seen my kids in my dreams,” Ali, 40, who hails from Faisalabad, told IANS here.

“Before my kids (three sons and two daughters) went to sleep that night, we had dinner together. I want to have dinner once again. Can any one give me that,” he said as tears rolled down his cheeks.

“After the train left Delhi, my wife and children and I had dinner together. I cannot forget that moment. I want to live that moment again.”

At least 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, were burnt to death when bombs ripped through two coaches of the train near Diwana railway station, around 90 km north of New Delhi. The blasts occurred in the night of Feb 18-19 last year.

Currently in Delhi, Ali narrated his “unforgettable experience” and will visit Panipat in Haryana Tuesday, where all the blast victims were buried.

Ali had visited India to meet his relatives in Delhi and Ghaziabad.

“Both the Indian government and Pakistani government had already given me compensation but can money ever replace my sorrow?

“I have stopped travelling in trains and this time too I came to India on the bus. I don’t know when I will come to India again. It reminds me of my children,” he said, showing his charred hands and forehead.

Recounting his “worst nightmare”, Ali, a general store owner in Faisalabad, said: “Almost all the passengers were sleeping when I heard the blast. Within minutes the train was in flames.

“I jumped out of the train as the driver put on the brakes near Diwana station. But minutes after I realised that my wife and kids were inside. I tried to enter but could not.

“My wife managed to come out of the train with our one-year-old daughter Aksa. All others were burnt to death,” he said, adding: “I am living because of my youngest daughter”.

He praised the Indian doctors both in Panipat and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, the Indian security officials on the border and the people of Panipat who helped him to survive after that “fateful night”.

Ali’s brother and brother-in-law are accompanying him on his journey this time.

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