Mumbai: 26/11 witness seeks help to pay rent, gets small bounty | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: Devika Rotawan, 21, who was the youngest witness in the 26/11 terror trial, Thursday appealed for help to save her from becoming homeless. On November 26, 2008, Devika, then barely nine years old, was heading to Pune along with her father and brothe rto meet her older brother when she was shot on the right leg by Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Kasab at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.
She recovered after six surgeries and six months of being bedridden. The young girl later identified Kasab as the attacker in court.
Devika said, “I live in a chawl in Government Colony, Bandra East, where the monthly rent is Rs 10,000. Our landlord has been allowing extensions since the past two months, but I have been unable to gather the amount. September 10 was my deadline to pay else I would have had to leave. I have sought two days more.”
Shortly after she issued an appeal online, several Good Samaritans stepped forward to deposit money in her bank account. Some helped with Rs 500, others Rs 1,000 while Pune-based businessman Tehseen Poonawalla transferred a sum of Rs 10,000. “I will pay a similar amount next month as well,” Poonawalla promised. “I saw the tweets and did not stop to think too long before offering to pay. I have read about Devika’s bravery during 26/11, and I know that she is genuine. I have seen so much misery during the lockdown, and if God has given me a little extra, it is my duty to help others.”
Devika had mistakenly issued a wrong IFSC bank code online but later provided another SBI account to donors.
Still, the girl who now studies in Chetna College, said that her problem remains unsolved. “I require Rs 1,20,000 at one go, because I must pay rent in advance for the entire year. The amounts credited are small -some Rs 500, others Rs 1,000. I am looking for a permanent resolution which is why I have also filed an appeal in court seeking a flat from the government.”
Devika says she did not receive the promised EWS house that was promised to her by visiting politicians in the aftermath of the attack and during the trial.
“In fact two unknown persons took my signature on some document and vanished for good. My relatives in Rajasthan have taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh from me which they are yet to return. My 56-year-old father is unable to work so it is my duty to care for the family,” she said.

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