The day that will haunt them forever


Family members of accident victims in a state of shock

Three-year-old Mallikarjun was adamant, he never went to bed without his mother to sleep by his side, says his father Parashuram, who survived the tractor accident on Sunday.

Hours before the tractor pick-up, he was playing with other mates, but by the afternoon, he was seen lying on his mother’s chest, surrounded by five other women on a tractor parked under a tent – all dead.

And for the last time, Parashuram carried his son on his shoulders – to the post-mortem table at the primary health centre here at Vemulakonda village.

The wailing that rented the air each time a body was taken into the autopsy room is hard to describe, but it exceeded the VIP’s siren and the protesting locals. And half a km away, strewn footwear, tiffin boxes and water bottles formed the accident scene.

For those 25 women who travelled in the tractor, ₹250 wage is an important earning as working as daily-wage agricultural labourer is the only option, besides the employment guarantee scheme. And they all belong to lower economic and marginalised communities.

K. Akhila, 17, a first-timer, did not want to waste her Sunday and agreed quickly to accompany her sister when she pulled her on the tractor. Luckily, she escaped with a blunt injury on her hip. “My sister Narmada died today. And next 12th, it will be the first death anniversary of her husband. Their children are four and six years old now,” she said.

For the ten survivors at the hospital, it’s not clear how the tractor plunged into the canal.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 12:54:02 PM |

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