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Relief & grief of Bengal families

Burwan (Murshidabad), Nov. 21: Allarakha Sheikh, 55, had gone to the village tea stall this morning when he came to know from TV about Ajmal Kasab’s hanging.

“I went back in time and was overcome by a sense of relief and grief,” said Allarakha, whose son Asfar Ali was one of those who died in the terror strike at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on November 26, 2008.

“My second son Asfar was gunned down. Today, I heaved a sigh of relief — one of those who killed my son was punished. At the same time, I felt sad as the news rekindled old memories,” the farmer who lives in Bodua village in Murshidabad’s Burwan said.

“We used to pray for Kasab’s hanging. We think he should have been hanged much earlier,” he added.

Asfar, 21 at the time of his death, used to work for a parcel-handling firm. He was waiting at platform No. 14 to unload goods when the terrorists opened fire. He suffered bullet injuries in his chest, stomach and right leg.

When The Telegraph spoke Allarakha a day after the tragedy, he had said the family used to depend on the Rs 1,000 Asfar used to send home every month.

Allarakha said today that he received Rs 19 lakh in compensation. “The railway ministry gave a job in the Group D category to my younger son Asmar.”

Asmar was 19 then and used to work as a tailor in Dadar. He is now posted in Murshidabad.

“With the money I got in compensation, I bought some agricultural land and married off my daughter,” Allarakha said.

Singur resident Purnendu Chatterjee, whose mother Meera died in the terror attack, said her “soul would rest in peace now”.

“My mother had gone to Mumbai to pack my elder brother Ardhendu’s belongings because he had planned to return home after the steel company he used to work for closed down,” Purnendu said.

“She was waiting at CST to catch the Gitanjali Express to Howrah when she was hit by bullets,” he added.

“Now that Kasab is dead, my mother’s soul will rest in peace,” said Purnendu, who got a Group D job in the railways after the tragedy.