Nanny Sandra Samuel, who saved baby Moshe from terrorists during the 26/11 attacks, was granted Israeli citizenship in July last year.
But her 24-year-old associate, Qazi Zakir Hussain, who helped her rescue Moshe, has been left high and dry, with no recognition and more importantly, no job. Unemployed for months after the attacks that destroyed Chabad House, Hussain recently found employment in a Mulund bakery as a cook.
The only Muslim caretaker at the Jewish prayer centre, Hussain had been working there for three years. The youngest of five siblings, he hails from Kareemganj in Assam.
He came to Mumbai five years ago and worked in a Churchgate restaurant before getting a job at Nariman House. Initially appointed as a caretaker, he was later shifted to the kitchen as a cook and paid Rs 4,000 per month.
Now a cook at Paninaro, a bakery in Mulund, Hussain was busy cutting onions and shaping breads when TOI visited him. “After the attack, I worked there again for two months but didn’t get any clear picture about the future of my job. I had helped the police to find bullets and even deposed in court as a witness,” he added.
Rabbi Chanoch Gechtman, the new rabbi at Chabad House, could not be contacted since he was in Israel.
Last July, the Chabad House website quoted Israeli interior minister Eli Yishai as saying it had decided to confer citizenship upon Sandra, an Indian national, in recognition of her heroism.
Sandra, a widow, was working for Holtzberg and his wife since their arrival in Mumbai in 2003 and took care of Moshe since his birth.
“On the night of 26/11, Sandra and I were chatting on the first floor when the terrorists barged into the building. We tried to come out and see what was happening, when a terrorist showered bullets. We hid the entire night in a room on the same floor,” recalled Hussain.
The terrorists had hurled grenades on the first floor and were under the impression that its occupants were killed.
“As soon as we tried to escape, we heard Moshe crying. Sandra and I went upstairs found Moshe crying on the second floor. I picked him up and gave him to Sandra who wrapped the baby in her arms,” Hussain said.
They later were taken to Colaba police station. “Sandra has gone to Israel. Since I don’t have a place to stay, I am staying with her son at their Mira Road flat,” he said. “She calls me once or twice a week from a private number,” he added.
Remembering Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, both killed in the attack, Hussain termed Rivka as an affectionate woman. “She was very caring towards the staff and give us gifts too. She did for me what even our own relatives don’t do today,” Hussain said.