How long will the compensation last?
Blast victim Baburam Das’s family — mother Latika, son Abhishek and wife Pronot. Inset: Baburam Das
Toll climbs to 20
PRASANNA D ZORE
The Das family is a yet another victim of terror that struck Mumbai July 13. Baburam
Das, 42, who breathed his last July 16,
becoming the 19th victim of the blasts, is
survived by an aging mother, an ill wife and
a teenage son. Having lost the sole breadwinner of the family, the future seems insecure now, but Das’s son is determined to
pick up the pieces and make his father
“We are alive because of what he did for
us,” said Das’s mother Latika, 62.
Grief-stricken she has traveled from
Domjur in West Bengal’s Howrah district to
stand by her widowed daughter-in-law
Pronoti and grandson Abhishek.
“My son left our home when he was seven
and went to stay with his aunt in Kolkata,”
A man injured in the July 13 serial blasts in Mumbai died July 19 while under-
going treatment, taking the death toll to 20. “Ashok Bhate, 45, who sustained burn
injuries at the Zaveri Bazaar blast site, died at approximately 11.15 am,” said T P
Lahane, dean, J J Hospital.
The death toll at the Zaveri Bazaar blast site now stands at 9, while that at the
Opera House site has gone up to 11. More than 130 people were injured in the triple
blasts at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar.
In Kolkata, he grew up to become a jewelry craftsman and came to Mumbai when he
was 22, as he wanted to “do something better in life,” said his wife. At 25, he married
Pronoti, who was 15 then. Years later, she
too moved to Mumbai and they started a
Pronoti recalled her husband as a hard-
working man, who wanted to earn a decent
livelihood. “My husband would work for
almost nine to 10 hours every day,” she said.
Baburam would start work at 1.45 pm and
retire at 11 pm. He would venture out of his
rented Zaveri Bazaar office in the evening to
collect material for jewelry designing
tumor, has not been keeping well.
She is unsure — and perhaps
scared — to venture out in search
assignments. He was doing just that at 6.45
pm July 13, when the bomb went off.
Pronoti was uncomfortable speaking to
the media. It was only a week since her
world came crashing down. It was Das’s
elder sister Aarti Mondal who spoke to the
media flocking at their doorstep.
“What do you want me to say?” asked
Aarti making no effort to hide her pain and
anguish. “Of course, my mother, Baburam’s
wife and son face an insecure and bleak
Abhishek is only 14 and studies in the
ninth grade. Pronoti, who recently under-
went stomach surgery to remove a small
Multiple agencies hamper probe
and some agencies view him as a prime suspect in the case.
The local police have questioned him, so has the IB.
However, the police superintendent of the area claims he
has not got any requisition from any agency like the NIA or
the ATS for questioning this man.
The other issue that has cropped up is regarding an operation conducted on the Bangladesh and Nepal borders in
search of the accused. The complaint is that not all agencies
were kept in the loop regarding this operation and only one
agency conducted this operation.
“This leads to confusion,” an official says, “and in such
cases a coordinated effort is what is needed. We do not want
to probe in one direction and realize that the other agency is
doing something else. There is a dire need to share infor-
Another officer says each team appears to be conducting a
parallel investigation, and claiming that their leads are the
ones to watch out for. While the Bihar police claim Sarkar is
a prime catch, the Gujarat police say the men they have
arrested are the ones to watch out for. The Karnataka police
say that some modules in the town of Bhatkal need to be
under the scanner.