Operation Ajay Evacuees Say Only Dead Bodies, And Debris Everywhere

NEW DELHI | Updated: 13 October, 2023 10:21 pm IST
The New Indian spoke to the evacuees who had come through Operation Ajay back to India

The New Indian spoke to five students who had arrived from Israel on Friday morning at the Banga Bhawan in Delhi.

NEW DELHI: The first batch of evacuees from Israel following Operation Ajay are unable to recover from the sight of dead bodies that they had seen strewn across Israel, as the Israel-Palestine conflict reaches its fifth day, with over 1,300 dead in Israel while in Palestine over 1,000 have been declared dead. 

The New Indian spoke to five students who had arrived from Israel on Friday morning, amid glaring calls of bomb sirens going off all across the city, at Banga Bhawan in the capital city. 

Sutarshi Paul, a PhD student from Be’er Shawa, said, “My friend, who is from Be’eri, was stuck inside her residence for a long time and during Hamas’ siege, it was by sheer luck that they did not break in. Later, she got to know that their (neighbour) was taken hostage and driven off to Gaza.” Paul added that she was stuck inside a bomb shelter for over 12 hours, amid glaring wails of the sirens. 

“She had gone inside the bomb shelter at 6:30 in the morning, and had only come out at around 5:30 in the evening. When she emerged from the shelter, all she could see were dead bodies, smoke and the remains of what the city once was,” he said. 

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While elucidating about his experience in the conflict-worn territory, he said that they had been instructed while, stepping foot inside the bunker, to not “open the bunker” or “go out”. 

Dyuti Banerjee, another PhD scholar from Be’er Shawa, illustrated how the attacks this time around were different, without warning, taking them all by surprise. “The attacks were nothing new to us, as we have been used to it since the time we came here. However, this time around, it was different. Usually, the Hamas militants would issue warnings across the bombing sites, but this time around, the bombs were strewn without any warning. This time we had no clue.” 

 

She added that the city that she is from lines the fringes of the Gaza border, however, she also added that it’s not as bad as in the parts of central Israel. “It is actually pretty safe there,” Banerjee said. 

Paul’s wife, Mohor Mitra, elaborated on how they were kept safe in Israel through the use of the Israeli government-ordained mobile application Israel Home Front Command. “We were safe throughout the attacks because of this app. The Home Front Command app notified us of where the bombs were going to drop and according to that sirens would blare from our phones.” 

Shruti Mondal, a student who hails from northern Israel, illustrated upon the conflict’s differences in northern and southern Israel. She said, “The effect of the conflict was sparingly seen in northern Israel. Although, during the course of the attacks we remained scared whenever a bomb siren would go off, as a siren in the north would mean that the Hezbollah was going to launch an attack from Lebanon side. Any attack from there would mean a stronger and more dangerous attack than what the Hamas did in the south.”

On the other hand, Sreyashi Bhowmik, highlighted the dangers of being alone during such conflicts. The PhD scholar said that being stranded in a city all alone, as she said, “Everything was fine but I had to manage with being alone in the city. That was a major task in itself.”

Presently, the first batch of Operation Ajay had heralded the homecoming of 212 Indians in its maiden voyage. 

READ: Israel used banned chemical weapon in Gaza: Rights Watch

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