People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 30

August 03 , 2008


CPI(M) Delegation Visits Gujarat Bomb Blast Victims

A delegation of the CPI(M) visited Ahmedabad on July 29 to express solidarity with the victims of the bomb blasts and their families. The team comprising Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, Central Secretariat member Hannan Mollah, Central Committee member and state secretary Arun Mehta and other comrades from the state, spent time with those injured in the blasts who are admitted in Civil Hospital and L G Hospital. The delegation also visited the family of Popatbhai Darbar,   a street vendor who was killed in the blasts.

The attacks were so diabolical in nature that bomb blasts occurred outside the trauma center of the Civil hospital. Twenty three persons were killed in this hospital blast. The delegation saw the mangled wires, girders and the blood spattered walls that bore a witness to the intensity of the blast. This was the area where the injured from the earlier bomb blasts were being brought on stretchers into the hospital. Doctors, nurses, volunteers were helping the injured when the bomb went off. Even in a war between two countries, hospitals are not the targets. As a doctor in the hospital said, the Red Cross is usually spared. But here the terrorists deliberately targeted the hospital and timed the blasts so as to paralyse the hospital. The delegation reached the Civil Hospital just as the condolence meeting the hospital was holding for the two doctors, the physio therapist and a staff member who had been killed in the bomb-blasts, was over. An emotional but strong Superintendent of the hospital Dr M H Anachalia introduced the delegation to the doctors, nurses and staff of the hospital who have been working round the clock to bring relief to those grievously hurt. Those who support privatisation of medical services would do well to learn from the experience of such crisis like situations where government doctors and nurses worked like heroes.

All the 17 victims admitted in the critical burns ward, ten of whom are in a very serious condition with over 70 per cent burns are victims of the hospital blast. Among them are two boys Yash and Rohan, aged 11 and 9 years. Their little bodies now swathed in bandages, writhing in pain, these children do not know that their father was killed in the blast. Their mother, a brave young woman and her brother-in -law told the delegation that the children's father had bought them a new cycle and he was teaching them how to ride in a neighbouring ground when the bomb went off. In the ward is Hansa Makwana, a nurse who has been working in the hospital for 25 years. She was reporting for duty when the blast occurred. She and her husband who was also present there were severely injured. Tragically, their young daughter, a patient of Thalasemia is being treated in the same hospital. Little Nisha, , crying in pain, holding on to the hand of her uncle does not know that her cousin brother and his father who she was playing with have been killed in the blast. The delegation met all the 37 patients in the hospital some of whom are critical.

In the L G hospital, a large number of patients are still coming in for OPD treatment. This hospital is in the constituency of the chief minister and the bomb blasts in this area killed three people according to the hospital staff. Here also a bomb was placed near the gate of the hospital in a parked car. The blast was powerful and destroyed all the vehicles nearer it but fortunately unlike the blast in the Civil hospital there were no people nearby. 45 injured people are being treated at the hospital of whom 19 are still admitted in the hospital. Among the injured were several women who had been buying vegetables in the market when the blast occurred. One person had a miraculous escape. He told the delegation that he was sitting on his bike with a foot resting on the adjoining cycle which it turned out later had the tiffin box tied to its seat. He had just moved away when the bomb blasted, injuring him severely. He had to undergo a surgery but is recovering. Here also the hospital staff and the Superintendent Dr Suria have been working non-stop for the last several days.


The delegation visited the family of Popatbhai who used to sell pavbhaji on the street corner. He had heard of the blasts and had rushed to the civil hospital to offer assistance. He was killed in the hospital blast. He leaves behind a young wife, a son and a daughter who is a patient of blood cancer. The family told the delegation how his one dream was to get his daughter cured. He used to take her to the hospital every week for her treatment. The child was inconsolable. The family told the delegation that till now no help had come to the family from the state government. Clearly the relief to the families must be given on an urgent basis.

At the Press conference later that evening Brinda Karat and Hannan Mollah extended their solidarity on behalf of the CPI(M) to the victims and their families and greeted the people of Gujarat for their unity in the face of such savage provocations. They appealed to maintain peace and harmony. Describing the attacks on the hospitals as unprecedented even in the annals of brutal terrorist attacks, the leaders said it showed the diabolical nature of the terrorists and their plans to destabilise and cause communal disharmony. They reiterated the Party's statement that the country wants to know from the central government why in spite of the consecutive blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and attempts in Surat, the government has failed to identify the networks and criminals behind it. What are the steps required to strengthen centre-state coordination to strengthen the intelligence services and systems. Political parties may come and go, but the security of the citizens of the country from terrorist attacks will remain, so security systems must be put in place urgently, which the  central government is not doing. In response to a question on the statement of Sushma Swaraj that the blasts were to divert attention from the tainted confidence vote, the CPI(M) leaders said that such statements only trivialise the enormity of the crime.

The delegation noted that the people of Ahmedabad were trying to restore normalcy, but some elements were trying to disturb the harmony. The leaders of the delegation had themselves witnessed a small group of VHP men shouting provocative slogans through a loudspeaker fitted onto an auto rickshaw. The delegation called on the Gujatat government to come down heavily on all such elements who want to fan communal tensions after the blasts.

At a general body meeting of Party activists it was decided that Party groups will visit all the houses of those killed to express sympathy and solidarity and provide whatever help possible. The state leaders in the delegation were secretariat member Nagin Patel, Nalini Jadeja, Kuberbhai Bhambhi, Ahmedabad secretary Devtadin Yadav, AIDWA president Bharati Behn, DYFI president and secretary Altaf Said and Satish Parmar.