Post-blast, residents near Idinthakarai robbed of peace

Even 12 hours after the country bomb explosion rocked the small Tsunami Colony near Idinthakarai to raze to the ground a house and kill six persons, thick white burning sulphur fumes were emanating from the debris on Wednesday morning.

Human parts were strewn around for a distance of about 100 feet. The residents of this seven-year-old colony, housing 450 dwellings, feared that some bodies could have been trapped underneath the rubbles. The damaged houses and the killing of six persons including two children seemed to have angered the Tsunami Colony residents as a few women onlookers started shouting against their ‘guests’ (Kooththenkuzhi fishermen). “They should never be allowed here again,” one of them shouted.

After tsunami damaged the houses of several Idinthakarai fishermen who lived close to the shore, Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), a non-governmental organisation, had constructed 450 permanent houses, each measuring about 350 square feet with a small living room, a bedroom, kitchen, toilet, bathroom and a sit-out, on a sprawling land west of Idinthakarai in 2006.

When factional rivalry drove a group of fishermen from adjoining Kooththenkuzhi to Tsunami Colony, the original settlers lost their peace.

“Since we know very well that the Kooththenkuzhi fishermen would prepare country bombs to settle their scores with their rivals, we urged them not to do so as long as they are in Tsunami Colony. They violated their promise,” said Kala, a resident of the colony.

One of the victims, Roseline, lost two of her three children while she was seriously injured in the Tuesday’s explosion. Roseline’s friend Pramila, who had come from Idinthakarai to Tsunami Nagar on the fateful evening, was also killed.

The Tsunami Colony residents allege that the migrated Kooththenkuzhi population had planned to orchestrate a “final assault” on their rivals on Wednesday (November 27) in a bid to retrieve their lost land. They were, in fact, packing the bombs in plastic baskets to be taken to their village in the boats. “The explosives went off prematurely to kill our people here,” says Rosammal of Tsunami Colony.

A group of 21 children in a private tuition session in a nearby house had a miraculous escape because the session was still on when the blast took place

“After tsunami irreparably damaged our lives nine years ago, we were gradually returning to peaceful life… The blast has reminded us that our ordeal will continue to haunt us,” said K. Dhason, another resident of Tsunami Nagar.

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