Dushyant Vyas was teaching his eldest son to ride a bicycle in an open area near a civilian hospital in Asarwa area of Ahmedabad when he saw several injured people brought in by ambulance on July 26, 2008.
A lab technician at a cancer medical center on the hospital campus, Dushyant decided to help the injured and as soon as he approached the trauma ward, an explosion occurred. He and his eldest son died on the spot.
To this day, Dushyant’s wife, Gitaben, is overwhelmed with emotion every time the memories come flooding back.
“My husband was teaching my eldest son to ride a bike in an open area near the hospital campus when suddenly there was a rush to the hospital after a series of explosions hit the town. My husband went to help and at that moment an explosion took place in the hospital. I lost my son and my husband in the blast,” Gitaben, who works in the hospital’s cancer ward, told HT by phone.
The couple’s youngest son, Yash, was also present at the scene but escaped with burns and spent more than two months undergoing treatment at a private hospital.
As many as 21 explosions ripped through the city in 70 minutes that day, killing 56 people and injuring more than 200. At least 37 people were killed in the explosion at the hospital premises. Several other people died in a similar explosion at LG Hospital in Maninagar.
When a special city court on Friday handed down the death penalty to 38 convicts and sentenced 11 others to life imprisonment in the case, the families and loved ones of the victims breathed a sigh of relief.
“The scars are still fresh. We have waited 14 years for this day. The government has been very supportive of me, from paying the hospital bills for my youngest child to finding me a job in place of my husband who also worked at the hospital. Justice took a long time but it is finally done. The court sentence will give some peace to those who lost their lives in the attack,” Gitaben said.
“I am happy that the court pronounced the death sentence against 38 people responsible for the murder of innocent people, including my father and my brother. Even the 11 who were sentenced to life imprisonment should have been given the death penalty. There should be no mercy for such people,” said Yash, now 22 and a second-year undergraduate student, as quoted by the PTI news agency.
Mahesh Solani, who works as an assistant at the cancer center, was among those seeing patients when the blast tore through the hospital. The 51-year-old, who suffered injuries to his face and hands, said: “I suffered a lot for about five years. Being the sole breadwinner, I couldn’t stop working. I recovered step by step. “
Dakshesh Mehta, chairman of the Ahmedabad Municipality Hospitals Committee, was visiting LG Hospital and had parked his vehicle next to a Maruti 800, which exploded minutes after leaving the parking lot.
“I went numb watching my vehicle burst into flames. It was a matter of a few minutes. I was lucky to have escaped. This is a landmark court judgment and we salute the police for their efforts,” said Mehta, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporal from Isanpur.
The family of Ankit Modi, who died after an abandoned bicycle exploded in the Raipur Chakla area of the old city of Ahmedabad, also welcomed the verdict of the special court.
“I lost my son in the terrorist attack. There are many like me who lost loved ones on that fateful day. We have been through a lot in these 14 years. We wanted the death penalty for attackers so that such activities are discouraged in the future,” said his 64-year-old mother, Daxaben Modi.