26/11 Survivor Devika Rotawan Who Was Shot by Ajmal Kasab on Right Leg Recollects Horrific Mumbai Attack, Says She Wants to be IPS officer
Mumbai Attacks Survivor Devika Rotawan (Photo Credits: Humans of Bombay Instagram)

Devika Rotawan was 10 years old when terrorist Ajmal Kasab shot on her right leg at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) station. She was the among the youngest witness to survive the deadly Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008. Today Devika is 21 years old but she clearly remembers the moment a bullet pierced her leg. The attack killed 166 people and left 300 people injured. As we observed the 11th anniversary of the bombing, Devika narrated her story to the popular social media page, Humans of Bombay. A Decade of 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack: What All Happened During Attacks and in Years to Follow.

Recounting the incidents of the horrific night, she says, "I was barely 10 years old when a bullet pierced my right leg. It happened at CST station. I was with my father and brother and we had stopped for a while to use the restroom. Before we knew it, chaos had erupted all around us. My instinct told me to run and that’s when I saw the man who shot straight at me. I felt so much pain I collapsed." 26/11 Mumbai Attacks: Remembering Heroes Who Made Supreme Sacrifice of Their Lives While Fighting Pakistani Terrorists When Mumbai Was Under Siege.

After being hit by a bullet, Devika spent more than a month in the hospital. She was the youngest to testify against Kasab; she walked to the court in crutches, while recovering from the injury. She said, "The doctor informed us about what took place on 26/11. I was so angry. Flashbacks of women and children dying at the station came back to me. But the clearest memory I had was of his face. I spent 1.5 months in the hospital being operated for the wound, but I couldn’t get his face out of my mind." She further says, "I walked to court in crutches. Out of the four men presented to me, I immediately recognised Ajmal Kasab. My heart was filled with anger. I wanted justice right there." 26/11 Mumbai Attacks: Recounting 60 Hours of Terror Which Shook India's Soul.

26/11 Survivor Devika Rotawan Tells Her Story:

 

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"I was barely 10 years old when a bullet pierced my right leg. It happened at CST station. I was with my father and brother and we had stopped for a while to use the restroom. Before we knew it, chaos had erupted all around us. My instinct told me to run and that’s when I saw the man who shot straight at me. I felt so much pain… I collapsed. The next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital the next day. The doctor informed us about what took place on 26/11. I was so angry. Flashbacks of women and children dying at the station came back to me. But the clearest memory I had was of his face. I spent 1.5 months in the hospital being operated for the wound, but I couldn’t get his face out of my mind. As soon as I was better, I moved back to my village with my family. My father was contacted by the police to testify in court. We had to identify the attacker since we were some of the only survivors. I wasn’t scared, I wanted him to be punished. Our extended family stopped talking to us after this decision… they thought they would be attacked by terrorists because we were testifying. I walked to court in crutches. Out of the four men presented to me, I immediately recognised Ajmal Kasab. My heart was filled with anger. I wanted justice right there. That’s also when I made the decision to become an IPS officer. I thought I was being brave, but after this everyone disassociated from us. My father’s dry fruit shop shut down because no one wanted to do business with him. Our landlords hiked the rent because they think we’ve made money out of the publicity. The State Government’s promise of a flat is still unfulfilled. But we’re not giving up because we did what we had to for the country. Even though Ajmal Kasab is no more, my anger will only fully subside once I become an IAS officer and fight all this injustice. ‘Till date, I can’t enjoy Diwali or celebrate India’s win in Cricket because the sound of fireworks traumatizes me -- I know I’m not getting all these years back, but there will be an answer someday. They will face the consequence of raising a finger towards India… I will make sure of it.” #superhumansofbombay

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Kasab was executed in November 2012, however, Devika and her family's life completely changed after the incident. Her relatives and neighbours became indifferent towards the family and stayed away from them. Her father's dry fruits shop shut down as nobody wanted to do business with them. Their landlord hiked the house rent as they thought the family was receiving money from the media coverage. The incident inspired Devika to became a police officer.

Devika's family's decision to testify came at a big cost, but the family wanted the culprits to be punished. Even the sound of firecrackers haunts Devika today. She can't stand the sound as it brings back memories of the unfateful night. She says, "Even though Ajmal Kasab is no more, my anger will only fully subside once I become an IAS officer and fight all this injustice." Devika adds, "They will face the consequence of raising a finger towards India… I will make sure of it."