They still serve strangers water
By: Ketan Ranga and Bipin Kumar Singh
Thirsty Qasab had come knocking. Jamnaben Waghela's son gave him water. He drank and shot the son dead. One year later, MiD DAY finds...|
The Indian tradition of offering water to a thirsty person, no questions asked, claimed the life of Thakur Buddhabhai Waghela (33) on November 26, 2008.
Thakur had just sat down to eat home-cooked biryani with his son, Neeraj (3). His wife, Karuna (30) and their two other sons, Dhaval (7) and Roshni (11), were away.
The door to their house in the hutment at GT Hospital was ajar, the curtains drawn.
At 10.15 pm, Ajmal Amir Qasab and Abu Ismail opened the curtain and asked Thakur for water.
After the men drank their fill, Qasab picked up his AK 47 and shot Thakur dead a bullet in exchange for a glass of water.
It is in this backdrop that we decided to find out whether the tragedy that had befallen the family had changed them.
Atithi Devo Bhava: Reporter Bipin Kumar Singh quenches his thirst at Jamnaben's home yesterday. Qasab killed her son after drinking water.
Yesterday, MiD DAY reporter, Bipin Kumar Singh, knocked on Thakur's mother, Jamnaben's door and repeated Qasab's request.
She was serving dinner to her son Bharat Waghela and said, "Oh! you want water? A man like you came to our house on November 26 asking for water.
We had been watching TV and had seen a news flash that there was firing at CST.
You know what happened after that. But don't worry, I will give you water, it's my duty. Punya ka kaam hai yeh," said Jamnaben.
Her son Bharat came to the door with a glass of water and offered it to the reporter, "We usually avoid giving water to anyone in the night, but we won't deny you water."
It was only after Bipin drank his fill, that we told the family we were from MiD DAY.
Bharat smiled and said, "Of course, we will give any stranger water. But it brings back terrible memories."
Jamnaben added, "My room is opposite my son's [Thakur's] and I thought the men were commandoes [Qasab and Ismail were carrying guns].
My son had just handed the men glasses of water, when I told them, 'My son is alone at home, tell me what you want?" said Jamnaben.
In reply, Qasab shot Thakur. "My mother kept shouting, 'Don't kill my son, but he didn't listen. His associate shot at my mother, but missed.
I pulled her inside the house and bolted the door, leaving my brother dying outside," said Bharat.
Thakur Waghela's widow, Karuna, at her Mhada home in Sion. The shanty near GT Hospital where Thakur was shot dead.
Added Jamnaben, "When the gunshots died down, we quietly opened the door and saw my son lying, blood seeping out his body.
I knew without touching him, that he was dead."
A year on, Thakur's wife, Karuna and their three sons have moved to a Mhada flat at Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, provided by the state government.
"I have been living only for my children. I can't imagine how someone can kill a person who gave him water.
Qasab is godless." Speaking of the present, Karuna said, "I get Rs 7,000 per month from GT hospital where I work as a sweeper.
I have no support emotionally or financially from my in-laws. I barely visit them as they changed completely after my husband's death."
She said they cheated her of the Rs 5 lakh, the government paid her. "I am really tired it's been 11 months and I find it close to impossible to meet expenses.
But I'm happy that my children's future is taken care of," said Karuna. (See box). Jamnaben admitted that the money had spent on paying the mortgage for their land in Gujarat.
What the Waghelas got...
Rs 5 lakh from the BMC
Job of sweeper to victim's wife (Rs 7,000 per month salary)
Rs 18,000 per month deposited in a post office fund for the three children.
Mhada flat at Pratiksha Nagar, Sion.
1,600: Security forces comprising policemen, National Security Guard and the Indian Army and Navy took 60 hours to bring peace to the city
650: The number of NSG personnel
18: Police officers killed
36: Police officers injured
58: People killed at CST
180: Approximate number of people shot dead inside Cama and Albless Hospital
Then we went inside the railway stn threatening the commuters and randomly firing at them. Then we came out of the railway stn and started searching for a building with roof top.
But we did not find a suitable building. Therefore, we entered a lane. We entered a building and went upstairs.
On 3rd or 4th floor we searched for hostages but we found that it was a hospital and not a residential building.
Ajmal Amir Qasab's confession to the Mumbai police
Did you know?
There is a Facebook group called Save Ajmal Amir Qasab, which includes one 'fan photo' Ã¢ÂÂ a photograph of him at CST