Victims of Saturday’s accident belong to economically poor Lamani community

Gopilal Somappa Chavan (30) of Uppaldinni tanda in Surpur taluk of Yadgir district is cursing his fate for not being able to perform the last rites of his wife, daughter and half-sister who were killed in a road accident near Halki Cross on Belgaum-Hyderabad Road on Saturday.

Mr. Gopilal, who is among the nine who were injured in the accident and admitted to the District Government Hospital here, is taking care of his Rahul (3), who suffered a fracture in his right arm and injuries in the right leg, at the hospital here.

22 killed

Mr. Gopilal’s wife Jyotibai (25), daughter Sindhu (2) and half-sister Luli (6) were among the 22 who were killed on the spot when the goods vehicle they were travelling in hit a signpost and toppled.

Ravi Somalapa Chavan (34), Mr. Gopilal’s cousin who also hails from Uppaldinni, lost his wife Sarabai alias Saravva (25) and brother Pandu (32) in the accident. As Mr. Ravi’s right leg has fractured, he could not leave the hospital to perform the last rites of his wife and brother.

Mr. Gopilal and Mr. Ravi said there was nothing more agonising for them than not having got a chance to see their loved ones one last time.

Ramesh (7), whose right leg has fractured, is beingtaken care by his grandmother Bimbabi Shantilal Chavan, as his father, Govind Jadhav, and mother, Ansubai, of Geddalmari tanda are undergoing treatment for injuries in another ward of the hospital.

The three who have suffered fractures have been advised by doctors to remain in the hospital for 10 days, while the six who are injured may be discharged in about a week.

Mr. Gopilal, who was trying hard to hold back his tears, said they had left their eldest son Venkatesh (5) with his parents back home so as to continue his schooling.

Mr. Ravi is worried about the future of his two young sons, who are with their grandparents back home.

The other survivors of the accident and the bodies of the 22 victims were transported to their respective tandas in three NWKRTC buses. The last rites were conducted on Sunday, Mr. Ravi said.

Labourers

All the victims of the accident belong to economically poor Lamani community. The community members are traditionally engaged as farm labourers or construction workers. Of late, many Lamani community members from Gulbarga district prefer to work at construction sites in Goa and Maharashtra, where wages are higher and assured.

Many of the 52 people who were travelling in the goods vehicle were relatives and were on their way to Sawantwadi in Maharashtra.

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