On Thursday afternoon — when PMK cadres were on a rampage, targeting buses across the State — Shanmugasundaram, 12, was returning with his family to Chennai in a State transport corporation bus.
They had gone to their village in Ulunthurpet to attend a temple festival. Just as the bus reached Vinayagapuram, about 125 km from Chennai, it was intercepted by three men on a motorcycle.
“When the driver braked suddenly, the passengers who were standing lost their footing,” said the boy’s father K. Kannan. “Shanmugasundaram was the first to get up and before we realised what was going on, he was hit by a large stone on the face,” he said.
“A few other people were also injured in the stone-pelting. Just as I got down from the bus, a motorcyclist offered us a ride to Tindivanam General Hospital,” said Mr. Kannan, a mason, who lives in Puthagaram, Kolathur. The boy was administered first-aid but as the other injured — including a small girl — were brought in, the hospital referred him to Jipmer in Puducherry.
At Jipmer, a CT scan revealed his nose had been smashed. “He continued to bleed from the nose. We then brought him to Apollo Hospitals in Chennai,” the boy’s uncle Karunakaran said. Due to the impact of the hit, Shanmugasundaram’s upper jaw was also dislocated. After the incident, the bus was taken to Veillimedupettai police station and an FIR was filed.
Doctors have told the family that Shanmugasundaram, who has just been promoted to class VIII, will need plastic surgery to reconstruct his nose. On Monday, the first surgery was performed. Ophthalmologists have assured the family that the boy’s eyes have not suffered major damage.
The family has spent Rs. 90,000 on the boy’s treatment. “We managed Rs. 1.70 lakh by pawning jewellery as we don’t have the government health card. We have petitioned the Chief Minister for inclusion in the insurance scheme. Doctors have said the next surgery will be done after six months,” Karunakaran said.