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Kin of victims face uncertain future

A. Subramani

5-year-old can't comprehend devastation

CHENNAI: News of the stampede reached the homes of the victims by 4.30 a.m. on Sunday.

But even five hours after the tragedy, no one at Karishka's home could tell her why her mother and grandmother were wailing since morning.

Her father Anand (33), a driver, was one of the victims.

Her grandmother tells Karishka in Malayalam, "Achchan varilla" (father will not come). But the five-year-old is unable to comprehend the meaning fully. She keeps shuttling between the two elders saying, "Achchamma, mummy karayaradhu" (grandma, mummy don't cry).

Two streets away, the death of Sumathi (45) has put a question mark over the studies of her son Seenivasan. Sumathi was the only breadwinner in the family. Her husband Govindasamy cannot work due to ill health.

`Seenu,' was her only hope and she had made many sacrifices to ensure that he completes graduation, say neighbours. Seenivasan is in his third year of Bachelor of Commerce course in Presidency College.

The 75-year-old Saroja was a resolute lady not dependent on anybody, including her daughter, to look after herself and her husband. A flower vendor, she lived in Palai Street and had gone to Arignar Anna Model Corporation Higher Secondary School in MGR Nagar around 2 a.m. to collect flood relief tokens. A family friend informed Saroja's daughter about her mother's death around 5 a.m.

Latheefa (38) lived closest to the school campus. The soft mannered widow with two children did not come out of her house very often, recall neighbours. Three hours after she left her home, Latheefa was brought back dead, her relatives said.

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