Bombay HC Directs Consideration of Housing Request for 26/11 Survivor

Devika Rotawan

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra government’s housing minister to consider, “with sensitivity,” the request of Devika Rotawan, one of the youngest survivors of the 26/11 terror attacks case, for a house allocation under an Economically Weaker Section scheme.

A division bench comprising Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla noted that Rotawan, a victim of terrorism, has endured suffering since the age of nine, living with disabilities and poverty.

Rotawan currently resides in slums and relies on her parents, the court noted, highlighting the inadequacy of the earlier monetary compensation given to her given the extent of her hardships.

This marks Rotawan’s third appeal to the court. In 2020, she filed a similar petition, leading to the court directing the government to consider her plea. In 2022, Rotawan once again approached the high court after her representation was rejected by the government.

The court expressed dissatisfaction with the rejection, deeming Rotawan’s case “exceptional and genuine,” emphasizing the insufficiency of the compensation provided.

The bench directed Rotawan’s representation to be forwarded to the housing department minister for consideration within two weeks, stressing the need for human sensitivity and basic human rights, particularly for victims of terrorism.

The court criticized the secretary’s decision to reject Rotawan’s representation, noting a lack of thoughtful consideration.

Additionally, the high court was displeased with the lengthy delay in rejecting Rotawan’s representation, particularly in a matter concerning fundamental human rights and shelter for a victim of terrorism.

Rotawan, who was nine at the time of the attacks, sustained a bullet injury to her leg at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station. She later identified one of the attackers, Ajmal Kasab, in court.

Rotawan’s plea highlighted her family’s financial struggles and the risk of homelessness due to their inability to pay rent.

The 26/11 terror attacks, carried out by 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists from Pakistan, resulted in the loss of 166 lives and numerous injuries during the 60-hour siege in Mumbai.

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