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'Dead bodies were lying on hand-carts'

Harish Kotian | December 03, 2008

The terror attacks that brought Mumbai to its knees last week proved to be a life-changing event for many citizens.

Vicky Salian, who works as a radio jockey for Radio City 91.1, spent Wednesday night at St George's Hospital, helping the staff shift victims from ambulances to hospital beds.

Vicky is using the radio as a medium to convey the frustration and anger felt by all Mumbaikars after the terror attacks.

He narrates his experiences to rediff.com.

After finishing my radio show at 9 pm, I went to the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus. We have our adda near the New Excelsior theatre, where all my friends hang out. We were planning to catch a movie. Suddenly, at around 10.15 pm, we saw people rushing towards us. Even buses entered the narrow lane next to New Excelsior, where they are not allowed to enter.  When we asked the people what happened, they told us about the firing at CST station.

Curious to find out more, we walked towards the CST station, where we could hear the sounds of gunshots and grenade explosions.

I immediately called up RJ Manish Valecha, who was hosting a radio show, and gave him the news. He said that the news channels had no reports about the firing. Manish called me back in five minutes to tell me that another firing incident had been reported from near Cafe Leopold and told me to stay put.

There were over a thousand curious onlookers near CST station.  I didn't see any of the terrorists as all the roads leading to the station had been blocked and a huge security cordon had been deployed around it.

Had it not been for the station announcer's presence of mind -- he saw the rampaging terrorists and warned the commuters against going towards outstation platforms -- many more lives would have been lost.

My dad was at CST station when the firing started, and he saved my dad's life.

I then made my way back home, which is close to St George's Hospital.

The scene at the hospital was shocking. Bodies were lying in haath gaadis [hand-carts], as the number of dead victims outnumbered the number of ambulances. All the doctors and ward boys were busy attending to injured victims, and we had to carry the bodies inside the hospital.

We saw at least 50 to 60 bodies at the hospital.

There was a child, barely a year old, who had been hit by a bullet in the head. I saw a foreigner, whose face had been half burnt. There were many people with burns all over their bodies.

There was so much blood around that our gloves were soaked in it.

I was in complete shock when I went back home, and I felt completely helpless.

But since the last three days, I have been helping Mumbaikars voice their feelings and ask questions, through my radio show. Everyone is angry at this point and I think we need a revolution. If people want to express their emotions by burning candles or through other gestures, I think it is justified.

Our politicians are answerable at such a time, they just can't quit, I am helping the people of this city put forth their opinions though my radio shows, because this is the medium where I can take it forward.

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