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Pondy rejoices as three of their own return safe

Sunitha Sekar
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The three were flown home early as their health was deteriorating—Photo: M. Srinath
The three were flown home early as their health was deteriorating—Photo: M. Srinath

Three pilgrims from Puducherry, who had been stranded in Uttarakhand for several days, arrived at Chennai airport on Wednesday evening, and were subsequently taken to Puducherry.

Twelve other pilgrims from Chennai also arrived.

One of the Puducherry pilgrims, Dhanalakshmi Jagadeesan, a 56-year-old heart patient, suffered from serious breathing difficulties in Uttarakhand. The doctors who treated her there had advised her to go to a hospital immediately on her return.

Officials said she would be admitted at a hospital in Puducherry. Her husband, D. Jagadeesan (60) said that he too, had trouble breathing but it was Dhanalakshmi who was in serious condition.

“From June 16 to 23, her health deteriorated. All three of us, owing to our health, were flown in from Dehradun on a helicopter. We could not wait to get back home,” he said.

The three had been part of a group of 49 pilgrims who had embarked on a pilgrimage to various places across the country on May 27. They had reached Uttarakhand in mid-June.

Fighting back tears and gasping for breath, Dhanalakshmi said, “For the past week, we have suffered without food or water. We never dreamt we would get back and see our families again.”

The pilgrims had lost touch with their families for about five days. It was only a few days ago that their travel agent called their families and informed them the three were safe and alive.

P. Sivaprakasam (73), constantly suffered from wheezing but said he avoided allopathic care and took Siddha medicines. After he reached Puducherry, he was taken to the general hospital.

The other 46 pilgrims will arrive in Chennai in batches over the next couple of days, officials said.

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