26/11 victim to get house under EWS quota: Maharashtra govt to HC

26/11 survivor to receive EWS house: Maharashtra govt's decision upheld by HC
26/11 survivor to receive EWS house: Maharashtra govt's decision upheld by HC
26/11 survivor to receive EWS house: Maharashtra govt's decision upheld by HC

Mumbai | The Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that it had decided to allot a house under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) scheme to Devika Rotawan, one of the youngest survivors of the 26/11 terror attacks.

The decision comes two weeks after the high court came down heavily on the state for failing to consider Rotawan's request for house allotment with “sensitivity and basic human rights”.

Additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan told a division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla that the state's housing department had decided to allot Rotawan a house under the EWS scheme either in any project of the MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) or SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority).

The house would be allotted within six months, as per the state's decision.

“We appreciate the decision taken by the (housing) minister which according to us has granted real justice to the petitioner considering the suffering she has undergone all these years,” the court said.

The court disposed of Rotawan's petition after noting that the allotment shall be finalised and possession of the tenement shall be handed over to her within six months.

Rotawan was nine years old at the time of the terror attacks at multiple locations in the city in 2008. She was at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station along with her father and brother, when two of the ten Pakistani terrorists opened fire.

Rotawan had sought allotment of a house from the state government claiming that she had been suffering ever since the terror attacks in which she and her family members were injured.

The government had initially contended that it had already paid compensation to Rotawan but the high court last month said she was a victim of a terrorist attack and had been living her life with disabilities and poverty.

The bench had last month directed the government to reconsider her representation for allotment of house noting that this was an exceptional and genuine case.

In her plea, Rotawan said she had suffered a bullet injury on her leg and her father and brother too sustained injuries. It said because of several morbidities, her father and brother couldn't earn a livelihood.

The plea also said she and her family are living in penury and they would be rendered homeless as they have not been able to pay the rent for their house.

On November 26, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists from Pakistan arrived by sea route and opened fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others during the 60-hour siege in Mumbai.

Nine terrorists were later killed by the security forces, including the National Security Guard (NSG), the country's elite commando force. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later, on November 21, 2012.

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