• 27th
  • Sept 2002


Ahmedabad, September 27: THE NSG commandoes might have come within handshaking distance of the terrorists who laid siege to the Akshardham temple on Tuesday but 33-year-old Hitesh Dharia had an even more close encounter. Dharia, an employee of the Akshardham temple who doubled up as a guide, was perhaps the only one who spoke to the two terrorists after they had forced their way into the temple. He also got four bullets for his pains which landed him in the Intensive Care Unit of Civil Hospital. Recuperating at the hospital, Hitesh Dharia is yet to recover from the shock of the incident.

He was unable to move his left shoulder and had no sensation and mobility in his right arm and fingers. He also sustained two bullet wounds in his right waist. Dhariya underwent a 10-hour surgery at the Bombay Hospital. The microsurgical procedure involved removing four inches of damaged nerve and replacing it with one from the leg. “We also filled all the damaged muscles and did skin grafting,” Dr Gupta said.
SCARS of the Akshardham terrorist attack in September 02, are still fresh for Hitesh Dhariya (32). Dhariya was hit by four bullets, which left him unable to move his left shoulder and robbed him of sensation and mobility in his right arm and fingers. He also sustained two Bullet wounds in his right waist.
Dhariya was showing visitors round Exhibition Hall 1, in the Akshardham temple at Gandhinagar on September 24, 2002, when the militants attacked. “They bombed the visitors rushing out and turned to us”. We surrendered and lay down on the floor in a semicircle. But they fired two rounds at us anyway”. Dhariya remembered.
Dhariya didn’t feel the bullets hit. However his bleeding right hand shocked him. “I also realized, I couldn’t move my left shoulders”, he added .He then requested a less injured volunteer to bind his hand kerchief around his right hand they walked to the projector room.
Realizing the air-conditioned interiors were bad for his bleeding wounds, he walked toward Gate 6. “Outside, I saw people screaming for help. There were broken limbs lying around” Dhariya said.
Later, Dhariya was shifted to the Gandhinagar Civil Hospital, wherein, he passed out while being wheeled in for operation. Following the operation, he was treated at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and a Private hospital. He also underwent physiotherapy at the Akshardham temple and resumed his duties on December 3.
Meanwhile, Dr Gupta had written to the Param Pujya Pramukhswami of the Shri Swami - Narayan Sect and to the Hon,ble Union Home Minister Shri L. K. Advani Ji, offering his services and medical assistance.

Free Functioning Gracilis Muscle Transfer: for providing action of Zygomaticus Minor and Major Muscles.
The muscle is placed obliquely running from the angle of mouth to the body of Zygoma, as is the normal lie of the zygomaticus major muscle. The transferred muscle is sutured under sufficient tension using the previously passed trans-fixation sutures. A minimal over correction of the naso-labial fold and angle of mouth is achieved. Neuro-vascular anastomosis is completed with minimum muscle ischaemia time.
These Microsurgical dynamic surgical reconstruction procedures should provide him with a suitable muscle power for an acceptable function of the Face, the Upper Lip, the Angle of the Mouth and the Lower Lip.
Postoperatively, electrical stimulation of the transferred muscle is started after three weeks to maintain physiological tone and nutrition of the transferred muscle, till it recovers adequate nerve supply via the Cross Face Nerve Grafts, which may take over six months.
All these surgeries are being undertaken free of charges including supply and use of specialized pre- surgery imaging and CT Scans and some of the costly surgical implants through various charities.