Republic Day celebrations concluded on a tragic note in the hill station on Thursday.
When all the song and dance that formed part of the cultural programme concluded, M. Pandian (31), a member of the Armed Reserve Wing of the Nilgiris police moved in to display his prowess in acrobatics.
After a couple of daring feats, including one on a motorcycle, he, by way of bringing the curtains down on the programme, took up a challenge that involved somersaulting over human hurdles.
Volunteers of the Junior Red Cross acted as hurdles.
During the penultimate somersault over 13 children, Pandian's landing went awry and he suffered a neck injury.
He died shortly after being admitted to Government Headquarters Hospital.
His wife Sathya was witnessing the proceedings on the ground. The couple have two daughters aged six years and 11 months.
Describing the incident as a “great shock,” Superintendent of Police S. Nizamuddin told The Hindu that the constable, who was earlier with the Special Task Force, hailed from Chinnamannur in Theni district. Quoting government doctors, he said that the spinal cord injury triggered a heart attack.
Saying that arrangements were made to provide immediate relief, he said that policemen and officers would pool in to extend financial assistance to the family.
Among those who paid their last respects was the Nilgiris Collector Archana Patnaik.
The body was taken to the constable's native place.