Srinagar: His son died after he was hit on the head by a stone during a protest in Kashmir, but Rajavel is all praise for Kashmiris, saying the incident was “the work of a few men gone wild.”
On Monday morning, 22-year-old R Thirumani, who was travelling with his parents to Gulmarg, was hit on the left of his head by a stone during a protest at Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar. He was admitted to the SKIMS where he succumbed to injuries in the evening.
“The left side of his face was completely smashed, his jaw, teeth and nose were broken. There was a huge pool of blood under him. So many strangers came forward to help. They offered money for treatment, gave me their numbers. I am thankful to them. At the hospital, everyone was very helpful, but my son was already gone. They tried their best,” Rajavel was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
Rajavel, who works at the Avadi Ordnance Factory, said the incident took place on the third day of their Kashmir tour, soon after they set out for sightseeing in the morning.
“We were 43 of us, all from the same department. 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,” Rajavel said.
According to Rajavel’s colleagues, the tour was an “LTC package”. “We decided to go there because we wanted to contribute, help their tourism business,” said one of them.
Rajavel said the Tavera in which he and his family were travelling, came to a halt at a place where other vehicles had also stopped. “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,” he said.
“This was the work of a few men gone wild. 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,” said Rajavel, adding that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti gave the family Rs 2 lakh. On Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu government announced compensation of Rs 3 lakh.
According to the family, Thirumani, a B.Com graduate, was working with the consultancy major Accenture.
File Photo of R Thirumani (22), a resident of Tamil Nadu who died on Monday in a stone pelting incident at Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar