A decade ago on this very day, 10 Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists launched coordinated attacks in the heart of the city, which left 166 people dead and over 300 people injured
Mumbai: Devika Natwarlal Rotawan was nine-years-old when she testified in court against captured 26/11 gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. The terrorist and one of his comrades had fired indiscriminately at commuters inside Mumbai's iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on November 26, 2008.
Describing the events on that fateful night, Devika said, "There was a loud explosion. At that time my father said we should leave, and holding me in his arms, he started running in one direction while my brother ran in another direction."
"Just as we were leaving I saw two people firing at commuters. I received a bullet injury in my right leg," she recalled.
"My leg broke, and blood spilled out," Devika said.
Kasab's bullets had rendered her permanently disabled.
Visuals of Devika walking to court on crutches went viral as the whole nation watched in awe. The girl shot to fame overnight. However, things turned sour when she started getting bullied at school.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, Devika said that children at her school called her 'Kasab ki beti' (Kasab's daughter).
Following her court appearance, Devika lost all her friends and subsequently, had to leave her school. She was petrified of socialising because she did not want to be (falsely) known to be associated with a terrorist.
What's worse, Devika's relatives and neighbours also started distancing themselves from her — fearing possible attacks from terror outfits. She recalls that her family received regular threats over phone calls that went on relentlessly for the entire course of the trial.
Today, Devika is 19. She shares a room with her father and earns her daily bread by doing odd jobs. She aspires to be an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and she says she is happy to have seen Kasab hanged.
"I knew he deserved to die but I think the government should take a stern step towards eliminating terrorism. I want to be the one to bring peace in the society. Kasab was just a small fish. I want to clean the entire ocean. Instead of killing a terrorist, terrorism should be uprooted,” she was quoted as saying by HT.
Devika stands tall today and does not let her past define her. She seeks to fight terrorism in India and avenge those hurt by terror attacks.
Last Updated 5:12 PM IST