SRINAGAR: While Kashmir is still in shock over the killing of a Chennai tourist in an incident of stone pelting, his father Rajavel is thankful to “strangers” who came forward with every help. His wife Selvi was also injured in the incident.
“So many strangers came forward to help. They offered money for treatment, gave me their numbers. I am thankful to them,” Rajavel was quoted by the Indian Express saying. “At the hospital, everyone was very helpful, but my son was already gone. They tried their best.”
“This was the work of a few men gone wild,” the distraught father said. “That is what I told the J&K Chief Minister, too. She asked for my forgiveness. It was good of her to come and see me.”
“It started all of a sudden. Stones started hitting all four buses carrying the tourists. There was very little time to react. Some of us yelled at other passengers to duck and take cover. Only my son, who had earphones plugged in, didn’t hear me,” Rajavel was quoted by the Time of India saying. “I was sat in the row to his front. I yelled at him to duck. He had earphones on and didn’t understand why there was this sudden commotion inside the bus.”
R Thirumani, the 22 years old BPO analyst was travelling with his parents and sister Sangeetha, when they were caught in a stone pelting incident somewhere between Narbal and Magam on Monday. They were driven to the hospital where the boy later died.
Rajavel, an employee with Avadi Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment under DRDO, was part of the 43 employees of the department that had availed the LTC package and were on an eight-day trip to Kashmir.
“We were 43 of us, all from the same department,” Rajavel said. “We had a vague idea that there was unrest in Kashmir, but we did not expect to be caught in it when the tour was planned some months ago. All I knew was that such things happen once or twice in a month.”
The family was travelling to Gulmarg in a Tavera. The entire convoy was aware of the crisis and they did stop. But they had stone pelting at the same spot where they had halted. “We were waiting to move when suddenly the stones started flying. I was sitting next to the driver and screamed for everyone to duck. That’s how my daughter escaped, she was sitting by the window behind the driver. My son was sitting behind me. He didn’t duck,” the Chennai tourist was quoted saying.
Newspaper reports said Thirumani was listening to music and had earphones on and that was the reason why he did not listen to. He said his son’s left side of his face was completely smashed, his jaw, teeth, and nose were broken. There was a huge pool of blood under him, he said.
Living at Muthapudupet (Avadi), Rajavel and Selvi had three children: two sons and a daughter. One of their sons Rajiv Kumat had stayed back. Both their sons were working with the Accenture Sholinganallur. Thirumani, a B.Com graduate, was working with the same company where his brother was a management graduate. Sangeetha, their sister, worked at the travel department of Spencer.
DNA reported that all the classmates and the colleagues of the slain young man had reached Avadi, 25 km from Chennai. “Thirumani’s friends and neighbours describe him as an unassuming and silent person,” the newspaper reported.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had announced a solatium of Rs three lakh to the family of Thirumani Selvam. Besides, state government extended a compensation of Rs 2 lakh as ex-gratia.