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'My son would have been alive only if..'

November 17, 2009 13:08 IST

Damyantiben Dulabhai Gohil regrets the day when she convinced her only son Harish not to go abroad to take a job.

The 25-year-old died outside his residence near the Nariman House in south Mumbai, in the terror attack on the night of November 26 last year.

"Had I not stopped Harish from going abroad he would not have been killed by terrorists who were holed up in the Nariman House," an emotional Damyantiben told PTI as the first anniversary of the deadly assault nears.

Recalling the horrifying moments when the terrorists went on a killing spree, Damyantiben, who is in her fifties, said Harish had just stepped out of the house when he was hit by a bullet on his chest.

"The profusely bleeding Harish breathed his last on my lap. It is a coincidence that even his father, who met with a road accident, also died on my lap when he (Harish) was just four-month-old and his sister barely aged two years," said Damyantiben, who is still to recover from the shock and grief that befell her on the fateful night.

Harish was the youngest and the only graduate amongst the 17 members of the Gohil family who live jointly in a cramped, 250 sq feet house in Colaba.

Harish was very popular in the locality and used to give choreography lessons on weekends, his married sister Neeta said.

"People are talking of the anniversary of 26/11 terror strikes but we miss him every moment of our lives and observe 26th of every month as day of remembrance," Neeta said, choking.

Regarding the compensation, she said the Maharashtra government had given Rs 5 lakh and another Rs 2 lakh had been received from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

 "We have spent more than half the money on various rituals. My mother, who is dependent on my cousins, has been giving donations to orphanages and religious institutions,"Neeta said.

"My mother does not own the house. I also don't have a job. If the government gives me a job, I can take care of my mother who has aged faster after the tragic death of my brother," she said.

Damayantiben keeps herself busy by stitching garments, making around Rs 50-100 a day.

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