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Pickpockets during Assam blasts
Published on 3 Nov. 2008 11:45 PM IST
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It was a shocking study in contrasts. Soon after last week’s deadly serial explosions in Assam, scores of passers-by carried the injured in their arms to hospitals while a hoodlum fringe was busy picking pockets of the dead, stealing mobile phones and wallets, besides attacking fire tenders and ambulances. “I was among the first to plunge myself literally into the fire and rescued about 10 people... some of them I carried on my arms to a hospital across the blast site and later shoved a few of the injured on a handcart and took them to the emergency ward,” Nitul Bharali, a middle-aged Guwahati resident, told IANS Monday. Bharali was Thursday passing by Ganeshguri market area, when one of the three blasts in the city took place. Diganta Tanti, a youth, was splattered with blood as he carried at least six of the injured to hospital. At least 81 people were killed and over 300 injured Thursday afternoon when Assam was rocked by 12 coordinated bombings in Guwahati and western districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon. Paresh Saikia, another Guwahati resident, recalled: “One person died in my arms as I ran with the man to the hospital.” But while these people were busy giving a helping hand amid scare and confusion, there were others who were picking pockets of the dead and the injured. “I saw some people stealing mobile phones and wallets from the dead or the injured. I didn’t have time to catch those hoodlums as I was simply bothered about saving some lives,” Tanti said angrily. Bharali is yet to come to terms with the reality. “When we were all busy shifting people to the hospital, there was a group of hooligans who started pelting stones and setting ablaze ambulances and fire tenders. I saw with my own eyes these people were there only for fun at a time when scores were lying on the ground,” Bharali said with a sense of bitterness. The darker face of humanity apart, the brave heroes of Guwahati are not seeking any rewards or accolades. “We did this for humanity. It was a cry from within my heart to act and save lives and so I went and risked my life amid the fire that engulfed the area soon after the explosions,” said Lakhi Narayan Deka, another Guwahati resident.

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