The nightmare of 26/11 Mumbai attacks (that happened in 2008) will always remain etched in our minds. It was when Mumbai experienced the terrorist attacks that horrified the entire nation. Many lives were lost and there were brave heroes who made every effort to keep everyone safe. There are many who witnessed Ajmal Kasab firing indiscriminately at people that changed their lives forever. Today we’ll talk about one such hero who was just 9-year-old and the youngest witness in the Ajmal Kasab case – Devika Rotawan.
The heinous attack on Mumbai fueled the young girl’s determination to fight terrorism and become an IPS officer when she grows up.
On that fateful day, Devika Rotawan was visiting her relatives along with her family. They were at Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus when the firing started. She was shot in the leg following which the young girl had to spend months in the hospital. While recalling the incident, this is what she said during an interview:
“I had reached CST from Bandra to go to Pune with my father and brother. We all were waiting for our express train on Platform No. 12. My brother had gone to the toilet and then all of a sudden, firing started. In the loud noise of the firing, there was shouting and screaming everywhere. My papa held my hand and like all other people, both of us too started running away to save our lives. Then at that moment, I realised that something hit my foot and it started severely paining. I fell on the ground,”
The nation got a better look at this brave lady when she appeared in the court to testify against and identify Kasab. Ajman Kasab was the only attacker who was captured alive after the shooting and later hanged on November 21, 2012. Though media hailed her as a hero for her bravery, her ground reality beamed an entirely different picture. Soon when she was well enough to resume her normal life, she came to know that many people are labeling her as Kasab ki Beti.
Ironically, her act of bravery made people fearful of her. Some people thought that she is a target by terrorist and attack will follow wherever she goes. There were also those who claimed she did it just for the sake of publicity. Well, it’s people like these whose stupidity never ceases to amaze us!
Keeping that aside, this is what the brave soul said about her plights during an interview:
“Finding a place to live has been difficult. People somehow think there will be bomb explosions or terror attacks wherever we go. Some people think we did it for publicity, some have called me ‘Kasab ki Beti’. They taunt me everywhere I go.”
There is no doubt that even after 10 years the incident haunts Devika and her family. Not only this, her father was forced to shut down his business as people were afraid to do business with him. Presently, her father is engaged in odd jobs while her two brothers are still unemployed.
The lady, however, is gearing up for her examination of higher secondary. Almost 19-year-old, she is quite determined about her future. Devika Rotawan wants to become an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer to combat terrorism. In her own words:
“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.”
So much bravery and determination at such a young age! We just hope that the state and the Centre will come forward to help this brave daughter of the country. We salute her indomitable spirit.