26/11 anniversary: Youngest survivor waits for state govt to allot her a home

26/11 anniversary: Youngest survivor waits for state govt to allot her a home
Images of Devika Rotawan then and now.
MUMBAI, NOV 26 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 11/26/2020 12:04:04 PM IST

It’s been 12 years since the Mumbai terror attacks and Devika Rotawan, the youngest survivor and also a key witness who identified terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Kasab during the trial, is yet to find a home she can call her own. All she has got all these years are assurances from successive state governments, reports Hindustan Times.

Rotawan, who has recently taken admission to BA in Chetana College, Bandra, and who wants to join the civil services eventually, was barely nine at the time of the attacks. During the attack at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, a bullet passed through her right thigh when two Laskar-e-Taiba operatives from Pakistan opened indiscriminate fire on passengers and also hurled grenades.

Rotawan, who was to travel with her parents to Pune to see, fell unconscious shortly after receiving the gunshot. She was taken to Saint Georges Hospital where she was operated upon six times over one-and-half months, and was bed-ridden for about six months thereafter.

She said several representatives of the central and state government have visited their room and have assured them of residential accommodation under economically weaker section quota but nothing came of it, forcing the now 21-year-old to move Bombay high court recently, stating that her family could no longer afford to pay rent of room in chawl at Subash Nagar in Bandra (East).

In her petition, she claimed that government officials had also assured her financial assistance for her education and medical treatment. A division bench of the court directed the Maharashtra government to consider Rotawan’s plea for a home but the family is yet to hear from the government. “I am glad we won in the high court but it has been over one month and we have not heard from the government,” said Rotawan who was her way to her native place in Pune with her father and elder brother.

“In the first hearing itself, the high court passed the order for a flat for Rotawan,” said Utsav Bains, Rotawan’s lawyer.

According to Bains, after the order, they have sent the concerned documents to the office of chief secretary of Maharashtra, Sanjay Kumar however they are still waiting to hear from the government. When contacted Sanjay Kumar asked HT to contact the relief and rehabilitation department. Abhay Yawalkar, in-charge of relief and rehabilitation, did not respond to HT’s calls or messages.


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