Friday, January 30, 2009

This child needs help urgently

Read this from todays Mumbai Mirror:

Seven-year-old Deep Sankhe is suffering from cirrhosis, a liver disease, which is in its final stages.

Dr Aabha Nagral of Jaslok Hospital says Deep needs an urgent transplant and, fortunately, Deep's mother Madhavi is a match and is willing to donate part of her liver. According to the hospital, the cost of donor liver transplant is around Rs 15 lakh - from admission to discharge. However, Mohan, Deep's father cannot afford to pay the huge amount. He works as a clerk with the Virar Municipal Council and his salary is around Rs 6,500, which is insufficient to even feed his family of two daughters, wife and son Deep.

Mohan has taken a loan of Rs.50,000 against his PPF but may not be able to raise more funds.

The doctors have said Deep must be operated upon before February 20 as his condition is deteriorating.

Cheques may be issued in the name of Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre (a/c Deep Mohan Sankhe). Mohan Sankhe can be contacted on 9987378912

(Thanks Sumita, for the info)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Report on Sunita Yadav

This from M:

Here's what's happened so far:

Sunita Yadav has got a job with the Railways but is awaiting her posting. They are not certain whether it is going to be Mumbai or not. If she moves back to Mumbai, we will help her with housing etc. if she needs it. We understand her younger brother lives in Thane and she could stay with them in the interim.

Right now we've wired the entire 4.5 lakhs to her account with SBI since opening an FD from here has proved to be a hassle because of red tape. The account is in her name. This branch is on the RTGS network and has also been notified as a core banking branch so any person wishing to wire money to her would need to speak to their banker and provide the details below. It will take a few days for all wires to clear, especially those outside of the SBI network.

We have been trying to call Mr. Yadav to find out when he will be arriving in Mumbai to file the papers for collecting the duplicate death certificate since Sunita needs that to be able to claim compensation & pension from her husband's employers. But getting through to him has been very difficult as he leaves the phone at home and messages to him don't seem to get delivered. We'll keep at it and let you know when they're due in Mumbai.

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A collection drive for the poor street folks in Mumbai

Serendipity is initiating a street drive in Mumbai to distribute clothes, toys, bedsheets, etc to the homeless. Here is what she says:

A drive for street kids/ old people on the street…anyone and everyone who has almost no belongings of their own. Let us give them some clothes to wear, some toys to play with, bedsheets to cover themselves …anything you don't need anymore and which can still be of use.

Utensils, Old toys, crayons, bed sheets, blankets, clothes, bags, story books….we'll find someone to give it to. Anything is welcome…

If you would like to contribute, mail us at for an address you could have stuff dropped off at.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First report on Shabira Khan

Serendipity spoke with CST shoot out victim Shabira Khan today. Here is her report:

Shabira Khan - spoke with her today, Here are the details:

§ She is admitted at Wadala Hospital right now. She was discharged from J.J. Hospital on 14th Jan, and has shifted to Wadala B.P.T Hospital.

§ She sounds like she is in a bad state.

§ Has injuries all over her body, but was unable to tell me what specifically the injuries are.

§ Says the doctors are not telling her what all is wrong…has undergone number of tests and minor surgeries and has been in hospital since the 26th of Jan.

§ Says she's currently paying her own medical bills.

§ She says the doctors claim she will need to remain admitted for a long time as few tests were incorrect, MRI was faulty or something like that. Will have more details on this only after I visit her, since could not understand fully via telephone (she seemed to be quite weak, and also in pain)

Have funds given to me by Gunjan and Kedar…will carry with me, and give accordingly either to her or speak with the doctor and pay pending bills (if any).

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Thank you

Kala and Priyanka for helping us set up the India Helps account. Yessir! Finally up and running. Makes one feel a little more organised and a lot more responsible.

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Looking for volunteers

To be our point of contact, to raise awareness about the cases we are handling, to put potential philanthropists in touch with those who need help.
Would you like to be our contact point, and part of the India Helps team?
We need team members in the major Indian metros and mini metros and representatives in UK, Europe, Middle East, Far East, Australia. Anywhere where people might be willing to help.
Write in to us at

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Update on Balaji

This filed in by Orangejammies:

Hi all,
Just spoke with Balaji and here's the gist of the conversation:
1. He says his physical discomfort is now better, with the exception of a nagging numbness behind his knee that is worrying him, lest it turn dangerous later. He brought up this concern several times during the course of the conversation.
2. He has been offered a job with the railways and went to the requisite office to see the in-charge, who told him that he needed to present an 8th or 9th std. pass certificate and S.S.C. fail wouldn't do as a qualification. He asked her if he's still get the job if he delayed submitting the application by 2 weeks, to which she responded that he would. I offered help with filling up the form and accompanying him to the railways if he needed assistance, but he said he would manage. He has been working a little, but not a full day's work and seems keen on this railways job.
3. He is still the only income earner in the family, with the brothers still unemployed and the women unwilling to pull their weight financially. I offered to find out about tailoring and other vocational courses but I could tell there was a wall. He appeared resigned to being the sole supporter of 11 people.
4. Gently asked him about PTSD symptoms, to which he replied he is not afraid or upset anymore because his parents are looking after him (I guess he meant their souls/spirits are watching). Suggested a psychiatrist, should he feel the need for one, and spoke about several people requiring assistance after such a traumatic event, but he assured me he is fine, so I suppose I'll let Dr. Seema Rao know that this particular victim will not be seeing her.
5. He is going to his hometown (Latur) on the 28th to finish a religious ritual that his mother had begun and will be there for at least a week to 10 days. During this time, he will also visit his school and obtain a pass certificate for his job.
6. The children in the family are all well and going to school.
7. I have asked him to give me a missed call on his return so I can call him back and we can address two specific issues:
a) The nerve numbness in his leg, if it is still prevalent and requires a medical professional to look at it. I asked him to give his body some time to heal and we would address the issue again in the middle of February if symptoms persisted.
b) Follow up on his job application.

That's that for now.

About Mohd. Rahim Ansari: tried calling again, phone kept ringing. Will try tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A quick thank you

To Priyanka and Monica (from Bangalore), who have sent in blankets for the Kosi victims.

Update on Salma

Sayantani has been in constant touch with Salma, through Ramu who is a friend of the late Sunil Thakray and Mehmood, who was their neighbour in Dombivili.
We spoke with the person handling the cases at Sanjay Nirupam's office yesterday and received the same feedback. The fact that Salma is not married to Sunil is the primary issue that prevents any sort of compensation being granted. The letter she has from the boarding school where her children are stating that she and Sunil are the parents of the children has no validity. Even if there was a birth certificate with Sunil's name as the father it would have been helpful. Now, in this situation, the gentleman has suggested we meet a reference in CST, and Sayantani will go across today to discuss the matter and hopefully we should have some solution.
Also, we have decided to fund a cellphone for Salma to maintain contact with her (Thank you Parul). As well as fund her a room on rent to keep her off the footpath and for the children to come home to during their summer vacations. Once she has a place to live in, we can organise a vocational course for her that would help her earn an income.
An other issue is that of official papers. Salma has absolutely no papers to prove her existence. No certificates of birth or domicile, no ration card. We need to figure that out. Because if the children are to go to colleges or further education post this institution, they will need all documentation in place.

Monday, January 19, 2009

And this is what Orangejammies wrote in...

...About her dream run:

Writing in to say my Dream Run went well. Parul located me and handed over the patches I was to wear. Soon after, we moved to the holding area and, wonder of wonders, were on our way out minus a stampede.

It must be old age or something but I barely glanced at John Abraham and focused on cheering the athletes coming in from the full marathon. As soon as we got to more than shuffle through the throngs, which was around halfway past Churchgate station toward Marine Drive, I crossed over to the side of the road and began handing out the India Helps flyers with a preliminary spiel about us. I didn't want to just shove sheets into people's hands and have them end up as paper planes, so even though it slowed me down, I explained a little about our team and asked for permission to give them the flyer. Found folks uniformly receptive, which was encouraging. Also handed some to a few mediapersons and NGO workers, including the Ummeed founder's husband.

I was all out of flyers before I had hit the Trident and wished I had carried more, but kicking myself wouldn't really have helped, given that my feet were already whining. It was heartwarming to see the Trident staff stand outside to wave to us, some of them right outside the now boarded-up windows of the Oberoi. So many folks waved back and stopped a minute to respectfully take in the sight of the damage. Also bumped into plenty of people I knew and handed my India Helps cards out to them, since there were no more flyers.

Couldn't meet with Rohini and gang because they'd already left before I finished. Still managed to walk, distribute and talk to folks about us in about an hour. As always, it was exhilarating to be a part of such fabulous synergy and I know that this is just the beginning for India Helps. Thank you, Team, for your solidarity and support. May this only get better.

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Update on Sangeeta Chari

This from Sumita:

Spoke to Sangeeta Chari today. She is doing fine. Currently living on the money left on her name by her husband and the government grand she received. She is unable to work till her 2nd child goes to full day school from June onwards. She was visited by the Bombay Community Public Trust recently. They had come in to enquire about her well being. She is keen on learning tailoring somewhere in Vile Parle near home. Currently she can only stitch sari blouses. Will try and look for tailoring classes in the vicinity. If any one else knows of any such classes please do let me know.

Added by me: Could we, as a start, get some saree blouses of our own and those of friends and relatives done by her to help her start work and gain confidence in her abilities?

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This report from kbpm on her run at the SCMM

It was still dark when I reached the place for my half marathon. after
giving up on locating Nihaas, I convinced my friend Ludwig to pin up the
India Helps stuff on his shirt. I wore the bigger sticker on my shorts and
the small one on my hat.
I did a strong 2:10 - 2:15 this time, I mean, not great timing-wise, but I did feel very good - like I ran to my full potential.
I think lots of people did notice the tag-line and cheer, but since I was concentrating on running I did not interact beyond giving them a smile. I could not locate the banner girls, though I did talk to Bala after finishing my run. My fund-raising effort through my run has gone OK and I have some contributions and pledges which I need to follow up on
It was wonderful to run for India Helps and I look forward now to the 2010 event.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

India Helps at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon

Did you spot us around?
(From left, Aparna Nair, Sumita Naik, Bala, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Rohini Haldea)
(Our brave men on hire who held up our banners for tired runners to glance at.)
It was the first major event of the New Year Mumbai city was seeing, and India Helps was there. In a small way.
So there were our brave lasses, and one brave lad, braving the heat and the crowd to spread the message, hand out leaflets, put up banners and get some visibility for the group as well as cheer our runners, Nihaas, kbpm, Orange Jammies and Parul.

Here's what Rohini wrote about her experience yesterday.

Will just write a quick update on what happened:
Priyanka, her husband Vickram, Suma, Aparna, Bala and I all met up at Churchgate station and made our way across to Azad Maidan. We fumbled around a bit to arrive at a good place to stand with the banners and leaflets. We finally decided the Finish line was the best place. Though even there, we realised that the runners had other priorities just then, like quenching their thirst and taking photographs. So we moved up just beyond the refreshment counter and got a much more positive response.
We managed to get our banners up, by hook or by crook. The first was given off to two guys standing on the road divider who agreed to hold it up in return for some small compensation. Another one, we put on the divider just where we were standing, held in place by two boulders. And used safety pins to pin the last one on a black fabric screen on the other side of the road.
We gave away all the leaflets we had on us and most people were happy to take one, though the odd exceptions did refuse. We did get quite a few queries on what we were doing over at Indiahelps and what kind of help we were looking for.
Here's hoping that today's efforts traslate into more interest and contributors (financial and otherwise) for India Helps...
So, if you did spot us there, I do hope you stopped by to say hello!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Report on Salma

This report from Sayantani:

I met Salma Thakre, partner of Sunil Thakre (killed in the CST shootout) yesterday. Salma is originally from West Bengal and ran away from home when really young to come to Bombay. Here she got married and had two children, but the husband was abusive and regularly beat her up. She fled from the abusive relationship and was staying on the footpaths near CST Station with her two young children, when she met Sunil, an anda pav seller outside the CST station.

Sunil provided shelter to Salma and the children in his house. Though they were not legally married, they had been staying together as man and wife for over six years at the time of the shoot out, out of which three years were spent in a rented accomodation in Dombivili. Salma's children, Aman (approximately 9 years old) and Soni (approximately 7 years old) referred to Sunil as papa and the couple were known as the parents of Aman and Soni in the organisation for street children in Kharghar where the children are staying as well as in the school where they study.

After Sunil's demise, Salma's main woes are claiming the compensation and money for daily expenses. She said the children's expenses are all taken care of by the organisation running the school where the study. The children stay in a hostel in Panvel during term time, and come home for vacations. However, she has no money she's had to leave the rented accomodation in Dombivili and she's come back to the footpaths of CST. She'd received a sum of Rs. 15,000 for Sunil's funeral rites from the Railways. She'd managed to save approximately Rs. 6,000 from that, which she gave to someone for safe keeping. That person's taken the money and run off.

The biggest obstancle that she is facing in claiming the compensation is that the couple was not legally they don't have any papers to prove that she is Sunil's widow. Apparently, some officials from the Railways had visited them and filled up the compensation claim on their behalf, but they'd said that proof of marriage would be required to claim compensation. If there were no papers, photographs of the wedding in a temple or like evidence would also suffice, they said. Unfortunately, Salma doesn't have any such proof either. She had managed to get a letter from the children's school however, stating that Sunil and Salma are mentioned as parents of Aman and Soni in the school records.

Further, Sunil's friend, Ramu, who had accompanied Salma, said he'd known Sunil for over 15 years, and when I asked whether he'd be willing to sign an affidavit, if necessary, saying so, he said him and his friends would be happy to state on record that Salma and Sunil had been together for over six years.

Don't know how much this will help...but we could push their case...Kiran was suggesting that she could meet Sanjay Nirupam to see if he would take up the case. I'm meeting Ramu and Salma today to get copies of all their papers. Will scan through all the papers and send to Kiran stuff that may help.

As far as livelihood is concerned, she said she wasn't doing anything when Sunil was alive. She showed me an application form given by the Railways, through which she could apply for a job on compassionate grounds. However, I see two problems - one the job application is for an immediate relative of the deceased, which in the absence of papers, Salma may not be able to prove; and second, educational qualifications of the applicant need to be stated and proof annexed with the application. As Salma is illiterate, that may be a problem too, though not as big as the first issue.

I asked her whether she's be willing to take some form of training for tailoring or like, and she readily agreed, saying she doesn't know of such a place, but if we helped her find a place which imparted such training, she'd be happy to learn and work. Was also wondering, in the event the Railways accept her claim as a dependent of Sunil but don't give her a job because she can't read or write, would it be a good idea to get her to apply for a licensed stall in CST or Dombivili (the reason I mention these two areas is because she is familiar with these two areas).

Another concern that she has is regarding housing. She has not yet told her children about Sunil's demise...and doesn't know what she'll say to them...she's also worried because now the children don't have a home to return to during the holidays.I gave her a month's rent so she could get back to the house.

Her expenses seem to be about 900 for rent, approx. 300 for electricity, cable etc. as well as other household expenses (approx another 1,500 i guess).

For the immediate, we could chip in and create a fund so her monthly expenses are covered for a period of six months or a year. We would also need to find a tailoring institute for her training, or a small scale industry involved in papad making, pickle making or the like where she could be employed. She had categorically stated that she'd prefer staying in Dombivili as that's an area she is familiar and comfortable with, so we'll need to find something in or around that area.

Alternatively, any funds received could be pooled to set up a fixed income instrument for immediate expenses and the actual pool of money could be used for a later requirement, like maybe the children's further education after they finish schooling.

Personally, I think her chances of getting compensation from the Railways may not be very bright, so was wondering if it may be a good idea to recommend her case to the Taj Trust.

Guess that's all for now. Will keep all posted on further developments.

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Any kind doctor willing to make a home visit to Govandi?

This is for Momina Khatoon. She is the wife of the taxi driver who died in the Parle taxi blast on 26/11. She has three children and is pregnant with the fourth. Our team members feel her health is deteriorating with each progressive visit they make. She complains of chest pains and says she is taking treatment for it. We would like her to be checked by a gynaecologist or a general practitioner so we could help her with medicines or treatment.
She cannot travel as she is in mourning. Could any kind soul, who is a medical professional, help out? A visit over the weekend is all we require. Do mail us at if you can help us.

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We're going to be there at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon...

We're not all running for India Helps. India Helps didnt even exist when the registrations closed for the marathon. But we will be there next year. I promise you, knees willing, I will do some running too.
But we think this is an ideal event to be present at to salute the spirit of our city, cliched as that phrase might sound, and to talk about ourselves and what we do to folks who might be interested.
And of course, to cheer on our team members OrangeJammies, kbpm, Parul and Nihaas who are running, for various causes, and for India Helps.
Watch out for our banners and runners at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on Sunday, January 18th, 2009. We will be distributing information and answering questions, so do say hello when you see our logo (on our blog header). We'd love to meet you and talk about how we can combine efforts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Follow up report on Momina Khatoon

This from Aparna:
Visit to Momina's house on Saturday 10th January 2008. This was my third visit to the place. She looked glad to see me. She was just playing with the little one. The other two kids were not at home.

I gave her the cheque and the warm clothes and she seemed glad to receive it. But I also noticed that she looked very weak and fragile. Her health is deteriorating day by day. I asked her to eat well and take good care of herself. I also enquired if she would need anything else. But she did not say anything specific.
Every time I go there, I can't help thinking of how can we help her better. I had taken my brother along with me. He thought giving her money is not going to help her. When I explained she was pregnant, he too had no answer to give or suggestions to make. He also agreed that what we are doing is the best we could under the circumstances.

Thank you for that report Aparna. It is truly heartbreaking. Any suggestions on how we could help her better? Every suggestion is welcome.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The awareness drive begins

Albeit on a small scale. To create some noise about forgotten promises.
Read this.

We are delighted we could be of help in the information gathering process. And yes, we are filing that RTI soon. We need more voices behind ours, asking these questions.

How can we help NSG commando late Surjan Singh Bhandaris family get what is rightfully due to them?

Why does it take so many years for an honour awarded to be fulfilled?

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Kosi flood victims

Over 20 lakh victims of the Kosi floods in Bihar's Madhepura, Supaul and Saharsa districts are spending the biting winter in the open. Children are being kept warm with jute and plastic bag patchwork quilts.
The floods happened in August 2008 and the relief camps are running low on resources.
We, at India Helps, are trying to provide winter kits, woollens and blankets to the affected through Goonj, a NGO that is doing on site relief work. If you would like to contribute please mail us at

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Indiahelps at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon

This from kbpm:

It is January. The beginning of the year. This is a particularly special year for all of us as we look ahead, eyes shining with hope. Hope that we have put the worst behind us, hope that the events of 2008 will make us stronger, hope that we will not forget, and hope most of all that we will continue to believe in ourselves.

Befittingly, the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is around the corner, and will be held on Sunday, January 18th, 2009. This marathon is one of the most wonderful events of our city. The sheer positive energy that is seen on the streets during the marathon is remarkable. I hope that many of you will have the chance to experience it.

Much of the effort of runners and other participants in the Mumbai Marathon is directed toward fund-raising for various causes. The event, in addition to being a satisfying exhibition of fitness levels and meeting of personal physical goals, has become remarkably efficacious at promoting myriad noble causes.

We at Indiahelps have a very modest goal for the Mumbai Marathon this year - we want to tell people about ourselves. We have a number of our team members participating in the event. You will find the young and energetic Nihas; and the veteran of four SCMMs, kbpm, running themselves sore at the Half-Marathon. The brilliant ladies Parul and Orangejammies are participating in the Dream Run. Along the way, the enthusiastic team consisting of Sayantani, Aparna, Priyanka, Bala, and Rohini will not only pass on information about Indiahelps but also inspire and cheer our runners. Watch for us near the CST main stage and around Nariman point; look out for our tag-line "Who did YOU help today?"

Wish us luck! Watch for us! Come chat with us!

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Balaji Kharatmal's consultation at Hinduja

Sangeeta, an India Helps team member, kindly accompanied Balaji to his consultation with Dr Chandiramani at Hinduja Hospital. Thanks nomad for organising the appointment at such short notice.
Here's her report:

I met Balaji and his sister at Hinduja. They had 3 major issues:

Is it safe to carry these pellets - will it cause more infection - when will it come out

His LHS index finger did not have the strength to press the gears and hence he cannot drive the autorickshaw

He does get a sensation of throbbing on his LHS back side

Dr Chandiramani said that you cannot keep going after these pellets .They are lead ones and they get sterilised as they enter the body because of the heat generated. The body will get them near the sub cutaneous tissue on its own. Once there, doctors will do a minor cut and remove it. It may even come out on its own through the skin surface - in which case Balaji can just remove it. The body will push this out on its own. However, it does not cause harm if it remains in the body -- cannot chase each pellet.

For his finger :the sensation, power, movement all normal

Discontinue all medications

All wounds have healed satisfactorily.

Balaji can resume work now.

Balaji should come after 3 months- April 2009 - for a further consultation. About the back wound, the pellets seem to be moving out but will be better if we give the body the time to push it out more.

The doctor asked and I said we were a group called India Helps and are doing what we can. He refunded his fees - Rs 650. Hinduja kept Rs 150 for making the card. The card is with Balaji. I gave the family Rs 800 and asked Balaji to focus on eating eggs, bananas and building strength and resuming his work.

All is well and he just has to have confidence. I did counsel substantially - let hope he starts work soon.

Thank you, Sangeeta.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Report from Vile Parle

This is what Sumita sent in today:

I spoke with Sangeeta Chari wife of Shirish Savala Chari. He was killed when boarding a train at CST. He was on his way to Goa, his home town. He was accompanied with his wife and younger son who escaped unhurt.

Sangeeta lives with her husbands family who are currently supporting her.

She has been promised a job by the railway authorities and has been paid compensation too. She wasn't willing to disclose how much. A NGO has already paid for her children's education-aged 9 and 5.

Currently she wants a job as she feels the journey ahead will be difficult with the children education and no regular income. She is SSC failed and can read and write Marathi, understanding of English is limited. She is good with stitching. She wants us to help her with procuring a job in Vile Parle, if possible.

I am going to speak to the YMCA in Andheri as they have vocational courses in tailoring. Let's see if they can help with getting her a job. We can also decide if she needs further training.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009


The blog may be silent for a while, but thats only because a whole lot of behind the scenes work has cropped up. For one, we are trying to raise some awareness about the effort at the forthcoming Mumbai Marathon and trying to figure out the best ways to do it.
We are also trying to formalise the effort so we can accept and redirect monetary contributions from donors from across India and abroad.
We are looking into filing an RTI for the Surjan Singh Bhandari case. This, if you havent been following the blog, is the NSG commando who was martyred after the Akshardham operation in 2002. Technically he passed away 600 days later after injuries caused by the operation left him in a coma. He was awarded the Kirti Chakra for his bravery but his family has yet to see the allotment of the petrol pump that comes with the honour. It is 2009 now. Shame on us.
Balaji Kharatmal, who has shrapnel injuries from the CST attack, is being taken for a consultation with an expert by our team members. We will keep readers informed if long term treatment/ therapy is required.
All of us are also following up on our individual cases, and trying to reach out to new families who could do with help.
We will keep you updated on the progress made.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Just wanted to say a huge thanks to the people, friends family who have come forth with contributions, support, time, effort.

Want to list down the people who we need to thank...instead of just being nameless donators/contributors... just as a small token of appreciation. I'm starting with Gunjan Indrayan and Kedar Savur, who have sent in money despite being abroad. The big figure next to my name in our account is actually you guys - thanks.

Meeting with Advocate Jamshed Mistry

Kiran and I also met with Advocate Jamshed Mistry (thanks Dilnavaz) regarding the Surjan Singh case, and here's what he needs from us -
  • Copies of the papers of the last RTI filed, and what information was given then. Also, details of when/where.
  • Details of application for pump filed by Surjan himself/widow. Details on communication after that, if any.
Course of action thereafter recommended as -
  • Immediate - One more appeal under RTI to know status of application
  • Filing under section 4 for Inspection of file - to know developments/action taken if any.
One relevant details are obtained -
  • Reminder can be sent to the relevant people about impending dues. If no action within due period of time, can also be served Legal Notice to demand for justice.
  • If necessary, can move High court.
Lets hope it comes together before that.... If there are any more such cases we can take up, do let us know by dropping us a line.

The Meeting withTaj Trust

Kiran and I met with Mr. P. Sanker (Vice President Legal & Company Secretary) this afternoon, and we've presented to him a few cases we think could do with help from the trust. Balaji, Ansaris, Waghelas etc.

He needs from us the following -
  • What were the occupations/incomes of the chief wage earners before this incident takes place? (This will help them in deciding how much money they should be entitled to).
  • A list of the total number of families we've visited, which ones we feel dont need any monetary assistance.
  • The Ansari family tree since the printout we had didnt help much. :)
Immediate need to collate everyones visits probably in excel/word and mail across. Also, would need to get back to him on what the doctors at Hinduja say about Balaji's treatment; if he needs any, what, and then he can help out if required. (provided he is treated at a reasonable govt hospital etc)

Any other families in need of medical care can also be put forth.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Update on the Sheikhs

This from Wordjunkie, truly heartwarming:
Just spoke to the brother of Shoaib Sheikh, who was killed at CST. They are pretty comfortable, have themselves filed all paperwork, including at the Tata Trust. The compensation is invested, he and his brothers have good jobs. They, in effect, need no real help from us. As he is also busy today with paperwork, I won't be visitng him either. He will, if the need arises, send in CVs for his brothers, but that is also no immediate concern. The young widow is slowly recovering, and the brother is even ready to arrange a marriage for her in the future, if she would like one.
So I'm extremely happy to say we are of no use to them!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Update from Sachin on Surjan Singh Bhandaris family

So, I got a chance to talk to Surjan Singh's brother Uttam yesterday. The gist of it is:
1. I told him that we are trying to collect a bit of money and his family should receive it within the next fortnight or so. He didnt seem to be in any sort of emergency to receive the money.

2. The real distress of the family seems to be in the form of not being alloted the petrol pump that accompanies the Kirti Chakra by the government, even after 4 years since the honour was bestowed.
3. The family really feels that the sacrifice Surjan made is being dragged between the BJP-Congress politics (the honour was given when BJP was in power, so you understand where I am going) and that they dont know how to address the problem.
I assured him that the country recognizes the sacrifice that this family has made and that we would try to help them out in any way possible. As I mentioned earlier, I am willing to do all the research required for filing an RTI application. The only issue is that since I am out of India, someone needs to file it on my behalf and none of my contacts have shown much interest. I am looking for someone whom I can work with to get this going.
Kiran: If you know of someone who is working in this regard or someone who could help me with an RTI, please get me in touch and I would take it from there.

Can anyone who can help out with this please get in touch at

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Report from Wordjunkie and Orangejammies

Wordjunkie has been following this case. And this morning she along with Orangejammies paid the family a visit.

Here's what she found:

Hi all
We just visited Balaji this morning. He's on his way now to get readmitted at J Hospital.
We had pooled in Rs 2000, which we handed over.
He is going to need support for a while, as he was the principal earner for a family that comprises 6 adults and five children. He also seems to be supporting two sisters and their families . His brothers, 28 and 25 respectively, who live with him, aren't very literate, and have no steady employment. They have typically done minor assembly work, driven autos and tempos, etc.

Family tree as follows:
Balaji (33) + wife+ 2 schoolgoing kids
Narsingh (28) + wife+ 2 kids
Dnyaneshwar (25) + wife+ 1 infant

They are going to need:
1.Financial aid for Balaji's treatment
2. Employment for the brothers
3. Aid for the kids' educational expenses

The 5 lakh compensation received for their mother's demise at CST station, has as yet not been invested.

They will need interim help for day to day expenses, though I did get the feeling they weren't comfortable accepting money from us.

Atleast three of the women are trained in tailoring, papad making, etc., but these are not steady sources of income.
The family has been approached by Yuva Pratishthan (Kirit Somaya's NGO) regarding offers of employment for the brothers. They have also applied for aid  to the Ratnanidhi Charitable Trust for the kids' education.

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