Special Correspondent

Kochi: The survivors as well as relatives of victims of the 1982 Vypeen hooch tragedy got together on Monday to remember the dead, to console those still suffering and to share their grief. But mainly to celebrate.

They had reason to celebrate: the High Court recently awarded a compensation of Rs.1 lakh each to 28 families of the victims. Though 24 years late, the compensation money, coming at the end of a long legal struggle, is crucial to these families, most of whom are poor.

The get-together, held at St.Peter's L.P. School at Malippuram on the Vypeen Island, was organised by the Vypeen Vishamadhya Koottakkola Virudha Samiti (Committee against the Vypeen hooch murder).

The convener of the samiti, K.Sukumaran Menon, was blinded by the Vypeen tragedy that struck the island on the Onam day of 1982. He was among the 50 victims or relatives who got Rs.1 lakh each as compensation five years ago, nearly two decades after the tragedy.

So far 82 persons have received the Government compensation, according to A.X. Verghese, who helped the committee to fight the legal battle. The families of four more victims were yet to get the compensation, who were honoured at the meeting.