Staff Correspondent

M. BADAGA (KODAGU): In a tragic incident, six persons — four women and two children — died when lightning struck them around 3 p.m. at M. Badaga village, near Murnad, 20 km from Madikeri, on Tuesday.

There was a heavy downpour, accompanied by lightning and thunder when the victims, who were working in the paddy harvest yard belonging to Kambiranda Umesh, took shelter under a tree. They died on the spot. The dead were identified as Pushpa (35), her two children Aruna (six) and Supreeta (four), Jaya (35), Yashoda (35) and Shanti (age not given). Seethe, an old lady who survived along with Suresh, a young boy, have been admitted to the hospital at Murnad. The victims were residing at the ‘line’ (labourers’ quarters) belonging to Mr. Umesh. They hailed from Kuruba community at Ranigate at Koppa, near Kushalnagar. This is the first such major lightning strike in the history of Kodagu, an elderly man from the village said.

Compensation

Terming the incident as tragic, S.G. Medappa, MLC, who visited the spot, said that he would take up the issue of providing greater compensation to the kin of the victims with the State Government. The president of the Kodagu Zilla Panchayat, Deerghakeshi Shivanna, condoled the deaths and said she would look into the possibilities of providing compensation from the ZP to the next of kin of the victims.

Deputy Commissioner M.K. Baladevakrishna, who reached the spot, said Rs. 1,000 had been given to the next of kin of the victims to help them with cremation. A sum of Rs. 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the victims would be provided as compensation, he said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police J.D. Prakash said that a case of unnatural death would be registered at the Madikeri Rural police station.

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