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DREAMS SHATTERED - Mumbai terror claims two lives

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SHAHNAWAZ AKHTAR Published 27.11.08, 12:00 AM
RAF personnel on guard in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Prashant Mitra

Ranchi/Jamshedpur/Giri-dih, Nov. 27: The biggest-ever terror strike in Mumbai took a toll on Jharkhand too. Two young men in their prime, chasing similar dreams in the country’s financial capital, fell to gunmen’s bullets — one, an architect waiting to get marrried in Ranchi in December, and the other a carpenter, who leaves behind his mother, wife and a three-year-old daughter in Giridih.

While Ranchi boy Malayesh Banerjee (27), an IIT graduate in architecture, was killed by terrorists at Taj Hotel where he was attending an office meeting yesterday, Giridih’s Prakash Mandal (28) was killed in a blaze of bullets at Mumbai’s CST where he was waiting with two others to board a train to Chennai.

Amid a statewide alert sounded by the police, as news of the two deaths reached the capital, there was a heightened sense of concern and fear among its residents, especially those whose near and dear ones were in Mumbai, chasing their own dreams.

Banerjee was hit moments after he stepped out of an elevator on the ground floor of the hotel. According to Sagar Das, their Ranchi neighbour, two terrorists had already killed three girls in the receptionist with their AK-47s.

“Then they turned their guns at Banerjee, who was coming out of the lift with three other IITians. While his friends died on the spot, Malayesh sustained injuries in his thigh. He lay on the floor bleeding,” said Das.

“He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment around 9.45pm but the doctors could not stop the bleeding leading to his death.”

Malayesh’s wedding was scheduled for December 6 in Ranchi.

Prakash had been married for five years. His mother and Mamta are inconsolable. A resident of Nagar Keshwari under Saria block around 60km from the headquarters of Giridih, Prakash was at Mumbai’s CST while waiting to board a train to Chennai where he had got a month-long contract for doing carpentry work.

“We arrived at the station around 10am and had waited for about five minutes when it happened,” Ashok, Prakash’s brother, told The Telegraph over telephone from Nayar Hospital in Central Mumbai.

“Suddenly, at least four persons with their faces covered started firing indiscriminately. My brother was hit from around 10 feet away and he died instantly,” added Ashok, who lived with him in Mumbai for the past 10 years.

Their friend, Teklal, who was with them, was also hit by a bullet in the leg. “At least a hundred people would have died in the CST firing,” said Ashok.

Prakash’s post-mortem was conducted at Nayar Hospital and he would be cremated in Mumbai.

As of today, train and rail links with Mumbai were not disrupted. The Mumbai-Ranchi-Mumbai Indian flight service was unaffected. “Both flights went full,” said Satish Kumar Bage, the area manager of the Indian at Ranchi.

The three Mumbai-bound trains from the state capital were also on schedule.

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