BANTWAL, July 6, 2013
Teenage victim’s father regrets not taking him along on Mangalore trip on the fateful morning
P.M. Aboobacker, a contractor who lost his son to Thursday’s ‘deluge’, repents his decision not to take the 17-year-old to Mangalore on the fateful morning. “He wanted to accompany me. But I refused,” said Mr. Aboobacker.
An hour later Mr. Aboobacker had to rush back to his house in Ammunje village hearing that his second son Mohammed Izad had drowned in the submerged agriculture fields. “Today I wonder how my son could drown here,” he says pointing to a corner of the paddy field – about 5 ft below the newly-laid mud road near his house. “It’s just fate. The water swelled just to take away two lives,” he said as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Izad, a second year diploma student at Karavali Polytechnic College and Abdul Razak (20), who went to the former’s rescue, drowned in flash floods near the madrasa attached to Moiuddin Jumma Masjid in the village. Izad and a few others who had reached there wading through waist-deep water on the untarred road across the agriculture fields. They were heading to see the Masjid one km away on the Phalguni river bank that had been submerged. This road connects the Masjid and about 50 households living on the river bank with the mainland.
Izad’s brother Mohammed Irshad, who has seen the tragedy unfold, says he saw his brother slip and fall into the water around 11 a.m. He rushed towards study centre while Razak, a painter, jumped to rescue Izad. Seeing Izad and Razak struggle, Ahmed Bawa, a passer by, took a plunge to rescue the duo, but got stuck in the water. Karunakar Alva, a local resident, brought a long rope and threw it at the struggling trio. Only Bawa could catch the rope and scramble to safety.
Razak was among three children of 65-year-old Mariyamma. Razak, a widow, was the sole bread-winner of the family. He had to take care of a sick brother. His younger sister got married recently. Mr. Razak had taken a loan of Rs. 2 lakh to meet the expenses of his sister’s marriage.
The bodies of the victims were found around 5.30 p.m. when the water started to recede, and the last rites were performed thereafter. Many well-wishers had gathered at the two houses of the flood victims and consoled the family members. The death of the youths came as a shock to villagers for whom deluge is not new. “People have drowned in the past, but not when fields are flooded,” said Kariyangala Gram Panchayat president and local resident D.A. Aboobacker.
Fifty-year-old Mr. Shetty, who has seen deluge in the past, says the water level this time is high compared to what he has seen in the last two decades. Increase in the water level he said was due to vented dam being construed across Phalguni River in Maravoor.
“The water has receded at a greater pace only because of breach of a portion of the dam. Otherwise the fields would have remained inundated for minimum three days,” he feels.