ANDHRA PRADESH

An ordeal for 70-year-old visitor to old city

Tough time:Pochaiah, a farmer from Gangaram village near Maheshwaram, recalls his misery while being caught between the rioters and policemen in the communal clashes in the city.   | Photo Credit: Photo: ABHIJIT DEV KUMAR

Abhijit Dev Kumar



Farmer who came to the city from Gangaram village for an eye check-up caught amid the chaos



Hyderabad: When he set out to get his eyes checked on Sunday, K. Pochaiah didn't know that his visit to the city would end up in misery. It was just the beginning of a terrifying ordeal for him.

Clad in a cotton shirt and a ‘dhoti', the 70-year-old farmer came to the city from Gangaram village near Maheswaram for an eye check-up at Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital, Mehdipatnam. However, fate had a different story written for him.

After finishing the check-up, he came back to the old city to catch a bus home that evening when everything went haywire. Before he could even figure out the situation, Pochaiah was caught amidst the chaos that erupted all of a sudden.

“I was on my way back in the evening when suddenly I saw people sprinting forward and hurling stones. I was caught in the middle and didn't know where to go. I managed to escape somehow,” he recalled the incident with fear still lingering in his eyes. “That night, I somehow managed to sleep under one of the shelters. I wanted to go home, but couldn't do so,” he recalls.

With bus services cut off to old city, he roamed around for a day without food and water. It was not long before a patrolling team from the Moghalpura police station saw the frail old man walking in the area while indefinite curfew was on.

“We found him in a very weak condition as he did not have anything to eat or drink since Sunday. After questioning about his visit to the city, we gave Pochaiah food and water and asked him to stay off the roads,” says A. Dasharatham, constable from Moghalpura P.S. With none to contact, the 70-year-old spent three days at a makeshift rest area with the policemen. “There is no way I can contact my family. The only way is to get out of here and take a bus home. But with the curfew still on, I don't know when I'll go back home,” bemoans Pochaiah.

On Wednesday, lady luck finally decided to smile on him. With media vans having access to curfew areas, the Moghulpura policeman managed to request one of them to drop him outside the curfew zone.