Mumbai, July 30: With the hanging of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon, it seems that the wounds of the victims have, somewhat, healed, if not recovered completely, as the loss that they witnessed is irreparable.
Even though Memon has been sent to gallows, for his involvement in the deadly Mumbai terror attacks, the victims of the fateful day still feel that the justice is delayed. [LIVE: Yakub Memon hanged]
As we turn back the pages of history of the day that torn apart Mumbai, India's financial hub, one name that surfaces is that of a brave and alert doctor.
Dr Jaichand K Mandot, a skin specialist, who is now 63-year-old, saved hundreds of lives on Sunday, March 14, 1993, two days after 'Black Friday' ruined Mumbai on March 12, 1993.
According to a report published in Mid Day, Dr Mandot was quoted saying as, "He (Yakub) had to be punished, all the masterminds should be brought back to the country and tried. I welcome today's (Supreme Court) order."
"I still remember the day clearly. It was a Sunday and I could not find enough space to park my red Maruti car as someone had parked a light blue-coloured Bajaj Chetak scooter (MH-04-Z-261) just in front of the clinic, and I had to park the vehicle behind the building."
He recalled, "The city had just experienced serial bomb blasts two days before that (March 12, 1993) and the roads were deserted. I had seen a middle aged man parking this scooter in front of my clinic on the afternoon of March 13, but I did not think about it at the time. I shut the clinic and left."
"Around 10.30 am on Sunday, when I was inside my clinic, I could see from the glass door that some liquid was dripping from the luggage carrier of the scooter. Initially, I thought it was some drug melting and suspected it was brown sugar or some other narcotic. I stepped outside the clinic and decided to examine the scooter.
"I took a container, collected a small quantity of the dripping liquid, took it to the toilet of the clinic and lit it with a matchstick.
To my surprise, the flames leapt as high as four feet. Since I was curious, I decided to collect the liquid once again and I even alerted a few locals this time. We took the sample behind the building and set it alight. This time, the height of the flames was double. I suspected something was wrong and decided to inform the police," said Dr Mandot.
Alert doctor informed the Matunga police. A team arrived within minutes and the entire area was cordoned off.
He heard the police saying that the scooter contained RDX.
"Senior police officials, including then Commissioner of Police A S Samra, Jt CP Y C Pawar, DCP Rakesh Maria and others came to the spot and they even visited my clinic.", he said.
Teams from the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and even the National Security Guard (NSG) arrived from Delhi and they decided to take the scooter to some other location to defuse the bomb.
At the time of incident, I had five to seven patients in the clinic and I was allowed to keep my clinic open and I could even examine my patients.
"I was called to the Matunga police station the same evening for recording my statement and I cooperated with the police," Mandot added.
"Soon after the police were informed about the scooter, I started receiving threat calls on the landline number in my clinic. The caller would speak in Hindi and would say ‘Abhi tumkho rehne nahin denge idhar, uda denge" (We wont allow you to live here anymore, you will be bumped off).
This went on for 15-20 days and he was given police protection at his clinic and residence for a month.
Mandot added, "Suddenly, several people, including political leaders and local residents, started visiting my clinic. They felicitated me for saving hundreds of innocent lives in the Dadar area. I had become a celebrity of sorts for the time being," said the doctor.
"Had the scooter bomb gone off, over 200 people would have died, as the lane is very narrow and there were two country bars close to the clinic. A lot of people also used the road to go to the railway station. Luckily, there was some defect in the bomb and it did not go off. I read newspapers later, which mentioned that 12.5 kg of RDX was stored in the scooter," said the doctor.
Mandot added, "The first RDX-laden scooter was found in Dadar and it was a major breakthrough for the police. It helped lead the police to the Memons."
Three to four years after the blasts, Mandot was summoned by the TADA court to testify. The scooter was identified by him in the court.
The doctor said he is happy that his alertness saved innocent lives and helped the police in nailing the accused.
"Today, even though I am retired, I make it point to visit the clinic for some time. Both my children are doctors. During those days, even my family was scared for my safety, but I was determined that I would stand by the truth and I decided to testify," he said.