January 15 was an unfortunate day; One that will forever be etched in the memories of Kenyan citizens. Five terrorists broke into Vinaybhai Sanghrajka and family's 14 Riverside Park and Dusit hotel Office Complex at 3.00 pm, causing major damage to the building and claiming 21 innocent lives. Not only were the men terrorising the people inside the building, one suicide bomber even blew himself up outside a cafe in the building as others continued to rampage through the complex, taking down everyone that came in their way. The incident made national and international headlines, and the public wept. Many cried over the loss of their loved ones while several cried over the loss of humanity.
On the fateful day, when news of the attack reached Vinaybhai and his nephews Chirag and Sachin, they, along with the rest of their family members immediately sprung into action, furnishing every assistance available. In fact, Chirag and Sachin and their friends even risked their lives to salvage the lives of several Kenyans, assisting them to escape from the building. The Sanghrajkas remained lodged and alert in an adjacent property for almost 24 hours, trying to save as many lives as they could. Over 176 people were even evacuated from an office block by Kenyan Security Forces with the help of Chiragbhai at 5 in the morning.
In what can be termed as the true spirit of Jainism, he led the whole family's efforts to assist everyone. It wasn't until 10.00 in the morning after, that the siege finally ended and all remaining terrorists were neutralised. It was Vinaybhai's composed and calm state of mind that helped the family keep themselves together. It is worth noting that a total of 12,000 rounds of ammunition were fired at the scene, however, it was the excellent handling by Kenya Security forces that led to minimal life loss.
In the aftermath of the attack, the entire family visited every injured person in medical facilities, arranged counseling services for every traumatised member and visited homes and families of those deceased.
(Vinaybhai is a member of JITO in Kenya. News of his family's valour during the trying time was reported by Pankajbhai Shah. Apologies for any discrepancies.)