A cracker explosion has left six tribal children with injuries

On January 19, six children belonging to the Manikuni tribal colony, a Paniya tribal colony on the outskirts of Sulthan Bathery town, were playing in the nearby grama panchayat stadium as they were wont to. Sudheesh, 12, a class six student of Assumption High School, found a ball-like object on the ground, and on the others’ prompting, he hurled it with force. Little did the children know that the ball-like object was a cracker that had been carelessly left around after a pyrotechnic display held in connection with the district meet of a traders’ organisation three days ago.

The cracker exploded, injuring the children. Sudheesh, and Sachin, 12, were seriously injured. Sudheesh lost his right palm and a testicle in the explosion, and he was admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode. Sachin who had lost the small finger on his left hand and sustained burns on his right knee, and the others, Akhil, Nidhin, Anil and Libin, were admitted to the taluk hospital here.

Libin, a class seven student at a nearby school, discontinued his studies after the incident.

Sudheesh’s father Ayyappan told The Hindu that though the incident occurred nearly four months ago, the children were yet to get any relief from the authorities, except for the Rs.25,000 allotted by the Scheduled Tribe Welfare Department to his son after the intervention of some social organisations. Though the traders’ organisation had promised to pay a compensation of Rs.2.5 lakh to Sudheesh, it was yet to be received, Mr. Ayyappan said.

A few days ago, Sreedevi, Sudheesh’s mother, found some pieces of coconut shell that had been used to make the cracker while she was dressing her son’s wound, though he had undergone treatment at the medical college hospital for over a fortnight.

The wound on Sachin’s knee is yet to heal. He is under treatment of a private medical practitioner at Sulthan Bathery after pieces of coconut shell were also found inside his wound, Sasi, Sachin’s father, said.

Meanwhile, the State SC/ST Commission has directed the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police, Wayanad, to submit reports on the incident by the middle of May after Ms. Sreedevi approached the commission.