'I saw a person lobbing something at our van'

Jul 31, 2012, 06:47 IST | Milana Rao

Jaswanti Thakkar, who survived the blast on a Tempo Traveller in Kashmir that killed three Mumbai women, claims it was a grenade attack

The bodies of Vile Parle residents Nirmala Rathod, Bharati Purohit and Nisha Jethwa were yesterday brought back to the city by the latter’s husband Bharat Jethwa.

TragIc tour: Jaswanti Thakkar, who was injured in the accident, said everything happened so suddenly that it took her some time to comprehend what had actually occurred.

The three women were killed at around 1.30 pm on Saturday when there was an explosion aboard a Tempo Traveller at Bijbehara town in Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Eight others were injured. Among them were Jaswanti Thakkar and Nisha’s cousin Nita Jethwa, who also arrived in the city yesterday.

An injured Nita Jethwa being received by her relatives at the airport.

“Even though the officials are saying that it was an LPG cylinder blast, I saw a person throwing something at the van,” said Jaswanti, while speaking to MiD DAY.

Bodies of three women who died in the incident were brought to city yesterday. Pics/Anita Anand & Nimesh Dave

The vehicle was ferrying the passengers from Gulmarg to Budgam at the time. “It all happened so suddenly that it took me some time to comprehend what had actually occurred. As soon as the blast took place, the driver jumped out of the van and he later helped us get to a hospital,” Jaswanti added.

The other survivor, Nita Jethwa, was severely injured and was on a wheelchair when she arrived at Mumbai airport. Nita, her mother Nirmala Rathod, and three cousin sisters — Pratima Jethwa, Bharati Purohit and Nisha Jethwa —were inside the Tempo Traveller when the explosion took place. Only Nita and Pratima survived.

“She (Nirmala) was a very sweet lady and it was always her wish to travel to Kashmir. She could not visit Amarnath as she was not keeping well and decided to go to Vaishnodevi. I even talked to them on Thursday; everything was fine then,” said her son Hemant Rathod.

Speaking to MiD DAY, a family member said Pratima Jethwa is critically injured and is admitted at Sher-i-Kashmir hospital in Srinagar. She would be brought back once declared fit to travel. 

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