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10 yrs on, German Bakery blast continues to haunt victims' kin

Press Trust of India  |  Pune 

Ten years after a blast at the German Bakery in Maharashtra's Pune city claimed 17 lives and left over 50 people injured, the wounds are yet to heal as the survivors and families of those killed have still not come to terms with the losses they suffered in the tragedy.

While some survivors want the government take steps to rehabilitate those who suffered physical disabilities after the blast, others feel the victims have not got justice as some perpetrators of the crime are yet to be arrested.

Some of the survivors, family members of the killed and injured, and locals gathered outside the bakery on Thursday to pay tributes to the blast victims on the 10th anniversary of the incident.

A powerful bomb exploded at the famous eatery, located in Koregaon Park area here, on February 13, 2010.

While nine people died on the spot, eight others succumbed to their injuries later in hospital. Over 50 people were injured in the blast.

Foreign nationals from Italy, Sudan, Nepal and Iran were among those killed and injured in the incident.

Amit Tulsiani, whose younger brother Vikas was killed in the blast, visited the bakery along with his parents for the first time on Thursday and paid tributes to the victims.

"Vikas was a young engineering graduate and had gone to meet his friend at the German Bakery to discuss some courses. While he was sitting at a table and his friend went to place an order, the bomb exploded," Tulsiani recalled.

He said his brother succumbed to his injuries eight days later.

"All these years, me and my parents never visited the blast site, but this time we decided to come here and pay our tributes," said Tulsiani, who is a musician.

He said though the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) made a couple of arrests in the case, the victims are yet to get justice as some of the accused are still at large.

The ATS, while investigating the blast, had arrested Mirza Himayat Baig, who was awarded death sentence by a Pune court in 2013. However, the Bombay High Court set aside the death sentence in 2016 and awarded him to life imprisonment.

The ATS had also arrested Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Yasin Bhatkal, who is currently in Tihar jail in other terror-related cases. The trial against him is still going on in a Pune court.

Four other IM operatives -- Mohsin Choudhary, Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Ismail Bhatkal, Fayyaz Kagzi -- are still wanted in the case.

Vikas Gurav (50), who survived the blast, said the government should think of rehabilitating survivors of such incidents as they face difficulties in going out to work and earn because of the permanent disabilities suffered by them.

"While I sustained serious injuries, one of my friends Nadia, who was from Italy, lost her life. I was in coma for the next few days," he said.

"Even after ten years of the incident, I am still not physically fit due to the injuries I sustained. This is affecting my ability to earn my livelihood," he said.

Shankar Kharose, the co-owner of the German Bakery, said a board with names of all the victims was placed outside the bakery where people paid floral tributes.

"School children, survivors and family members of the victims were among those who offered tributes today,"he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 13 2020. 15:56 IST