The stench of blood and fear is all around the Qasim Nagar shanty town, where around 200 slum dwellers lived till Saturday.
Following the terrorist strike that left 27 dead and 30 injured, people are on the edge, with survivors battling physical or psychological wounds.
Kailash Devi, 65, escaped unhurt. But her wounds are deep. Pointing towards a heap of clothes soaked in blood, she talks about the death of her daughter Chanda and son-in-law Santosh, a balloon-seller.
"After the firing started Santosh rushed from his brother's place to save his wife and child. But they shot him just in front of his shack," she says in a choking voice.
The 26-year-old had struggled hard to get into his wooden shack, but the terrorists fired again, killing him and his wife. Beneath the tumbled bodies of the couple lay their four-month-old son. A bullet grazed his stomach, but he survived.
"I might overcome the loss of my children, but how do I rear him up," she asks while the child sucked a feeder.
A few yards from her house lived Lakshmi Devi. On Saturday evening, her granddaughter Mausambi (17) was preparing dinner. Santosh (5) and four others were waiting. And terror struck.
"We tried to take the children inside and hide them. But they shot Mausambi and Santosh right there. My children died without even eating their dinner," she says, adding, "we do not even know why we were attacked."
Most of the gullible slum dwellers mistook the first grenade blasts for a short circuit in the transformer. "I thought the transformer blew off, as that happens every other week. Then I felt hot iron pierce my thigh. I jumped into a drain," says Tinku Kumar (12).
Lying on a hospital bed with his leg in a cast and a bandaged shoulder, he keeps thinking of the moment when he was playing with his friends and the terrorists lobbed the first grenades.
Those who are not amongst the injured are camping in a tent outside their locality. "We do not want to enter our houses yet. We are too scared. There is blood on the walls, on the floor in every other house," says Manoj Kumar, a
Anger is another sentiment that fills the air. The survivors are angry with the local police, who, according to them, did nothing to fight the terrorists.
"Five minutes after the terrorists attacked, the local police arrived on the scene. We pleaded that they should fire back. But they did not. Instead the local in charge Inspector Kalu Ram told us he did not want to die and was not bothered about us," says Satpal Singh.
Many others agree. They say that a policeman from Punjab, who was staying with his relatives, had offered to fight the terrorists provided the local police gave him a gun. "But the police did not agree and kept watching till there were dead bodies everywhere," says Dabu Kumar.
But the incident produced a few heroes too. At 60, Harbans Lal Sharma, a labourer, took on the terrorist who barged into his shanty and tried to kill him and his wife.
A tall, sturdy man, Sharma grabbed the barrel of the terrorist's gun and tried to snatch it. "But the barrel was hot like hell. It burnt my hand and he escaped after injuring us both," Sharma says, showing his scalded right palm.
He is in the hospital with bullets in the abdomen and arm. His injured wife lies next to him. "I tried to run after him but I fell. I wish my hand had not burnt. I would have killed that terrorist," he says.
A simple man, he feels grateful that the government has announced monetary relief for them. For his two bullet injuries he will get Rs 5,000.
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