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Updated: June 5, 2013 14:40 IST

Tale of a fall, courage and sheer civic apathy

Petlee Peter
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When Manoj Kumar was five, he fell into an open pit and has been paralysed. Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu
When Manoj Kumar was five, he fell into an open pit and has been paralysed. Photo: R. Ragu

He was five and loved cricket. His playground used to be a road near his home in Navalar Nedunchezhian Nagar, Chintadripet and he dreamt of being a star batsman one day. But an open pit dug nearby crippled his dreams two years ago, when, after a fall into it, he was paralysed chest-down.

V. Manoj Kumar is now seven and confined to a wheelchair. Recalling the traumatic afternoon of March 13, 2010, Manoj said, “I was playing with friends on the road near my home, when I slipped and fell into the deep pit. The mud and huge stones on the sides caved in on me, and I lost consciousness.”

Dharma, a local resident spotted the boy in the pit soon after the fall. He claimed the pit had been dug by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) personnel. “They had been laying cables there and left the 6-ft. deep pit open, leading to the boy’s fall. Huge stones had crushed his back and we only managed to pull him out with great difficulty,” he added.

Dharma and others rushed an unconscious Manoj to hospital. He had suffered a severe spine injury and his condition was critical.

Manoj’s mother Muthulakshmi said she spent many agonising moments when she stood by her unconscious son, and that she signed all the paperwork the Chintadripet police, who were investigating the case, gave her. The day was doubly traumatising, as Manoj’s father, P. Vijayakumar, an autorickshaw driver, was also in hospital then, undergoing treatment following a surgery.

“None of the authorities or police officers came to see us after that day. Local politicians promised financial help through TANGEDCO’s contractor who had left the pit open, but later told us that he had fled. The pit was closed overnight after the incident,” Vijayakumar said.

When TANGEDCO officials were contacted, they said they had no idea about the incident, as it had occurred over two years ago.

After three months of treatment, Manoj came out of the hospital but remained bedridden. “I sold my autorickshaw and my wife’s jewellery for his treatment. We had no help from the agency responsible. I petitioned the Chief Minister’s cell too, but all in vain,” Vijayakumar said.

After several months, some relief for Manoj and his family came in the form of Spinal Care India, an NGO. The NGO put Manoj back in school and also took care of his medical expenses.

Today, Manoj is confined to a wheelchair but remains cheerful, and even manages to play his favourite sport.

More In: Chennai

I would like to help the kid, please let me know the details.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: Oct 18, 2012 at 00:51 IST

I would like to help the kid, please let me know the details.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: Oct 18, 2012 at 00:51 IST

Kindly send his account details. I would like to send some money for the kid.

from:  Ashok M S
Posted on: Oct 17, 2012 at 22:28 IST

We should offer help to this little boy whose dream has been shattered by some fellow people of our society in which we live and have learned to accept such atrocities like this, so the people who have committed this crime are getting ready to do another one and we have to be careful that its not our kid who is going to fall into that pit. Hindu can bring justice to this boy who might have been a Sachin Tendulkar if not for this ruthless attitude of our fellow citizens. This should be covered in all media news and these criminals have to be nabbed instantly, lets learn people we need to be angry when we should be angry!

from:  Saravanan
Posted on: Oct 17, 2012 at 22:27 IST

on so many occasion, Hon'ble court has action on suo-motto based on newspaper report. perhaps Court can give notice to the authorities concerned and Tamil nadu government conduct a probe and award compensation to the boy. The probe will also reveal how the papers signed by the parents would have been made to suit/protect the government erring officials.

from:  Brahamanapalle Murthy
Posted on: Oct 17, 2012 at 20:43 IST

If "The Hindu" is convinced that this is a genuine incident, then I suggest that they should appeal to their readers to chip in with some help which can go towards the better education for the boy.
If you let us know the account name, number, and bank detail, those who wish can send money to the account. I would certainly like to do.

from:  Subrahmanyam
Posted on: Oct 17, 2012 at 15:03 IST

Feel sorry for such kids who have big dreams but before they could even work hard to accomplish it are brought down by criminals of our state. How careless and merciless that person would have been to dug a 6ft deep pit and leave it open.
It would be nice if anyone can provide some contact information about this poor guy.

from:  Krish
Posted on: Oct 17, 2012 at 14:44 IST
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