KHARGHAR GETS NEW SPECIALTY CLINIC TO TREAT CHILDREN Bomb squad officer gives lessons in fighting terrorism
RECALL After being part of 26/11 operations, Eknath Khollam prepares students to deal with such crisis
In a first, the city got a special clinic dedicated to children with disorders of sex development.
Mitr hospital, Kharghar, established by Dr Arbinder Singal, paediatric urologist surgeon and Dr Smita Koppikar, paediatric endocrinologist, was inaugurated earlier this week.
“Every year we see more than 200 children, especially boys, with genital organ defects,” said Singal.
“By giving these children the right scientific treatment, we hope to reduce the social stigma, give them good quality of life and help them achieve their rightful place in society,” said Singal.
According to Singal, earlier, parents and the society would not accept these children and they were taken away by eunuch societies and labelled as third gender.
However, now it is possible to give these children a proper diagnosis, treatment and assign them a meaningful gender, said Singal.
It has been seven years since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 164 people, but the memory is still fresh in Eknath Khollam’s mind. The 55-year-old was then an inspector with the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) in the Mumbai police force.
On November 26, 2008, Khollam was at his house in the Byculla police quarters when his colleague’s wife rushed to tell him to switch on the television. “The wife of my colleague and neighbour Vijay Kadam, a police inspector with the Anti-terrorism squad, told me about the terror attack. She said Kadam sir had asked me to get ready for work,” said Khollam, who was jolted out of his relaxed state.
When Khollam and Kadam left the Mumbai ATS office in Kadam’s private car, they saw many others heading to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in any police van or car they could get their hands on. “Till late that night, no one was aware about the attack or what was going on or who the attackers were and what they were up to,” said Khollam.
Khollam reached the Taj hotel, where a sniffer dog from the bomb squad had detected one of the bombs thrown in front of the hotel.
“My senior SM Anthony took a risk and defused the wire. He then covered it in a blanket and handed it to me for proper defuse. After we took it to the Girguam Chowpatty at 1.30am, it took us around 40 minutes to diffuse the bomb properly. It was an improvised explosive device (IED). Fearing it was a booby trap (cutting the wrong wire could result in explosion), we took it to the seaside. We found 6 kgs RDX in it, 10 ball bearings and RDX wires,” said Khollam, who said the team was working with only one torchlight.
A sniffer dog of the BDDS had detected a bomb in front of Trident Hotel. The staffers had covered it in a blanket but when the bomb was being shifted, it exploded. “Some policemen were injured. When we reached the spot, we conducted a post-blast investigation. A pit had been formed owing to the blast,” said Khollam.
Khollam even remembers the bomb they had diffused at the CST. “The empty station had bags strewn all across as commuters had run for their lives. Police officers were collecting the bags. After checking around 180 bags, a bomb was found that was defused within the premises with support from superiors. It was an overwhelming experience,” said Khollam.
Khollam is now a senior police inspector with Vishnu Nagar traffic unit in Dombivli and has applied to join the Thane BDDS. Since the attacks, Khollam has taken interest in spreading awareness about bombs and terrorism.