Mangaluru: “If the government doesn’t release the compensation promised, god alone is our refuge,” said the survivor of the Mangaluru cooker blast Purushottam Poojary expressing his pain and suffering since the incident.
The government has promised compensation and in its hope, we have spent all the money we had on the medical treatment, he said.
The crude cooker bomb which was carried by the passenger exploded on the autorickshaw that Purushottam was driving on November 19 last year. Since then Purushottam was hospitalized for treating the extensive injuries in the terror incident and was released from the hospital only on Saturday, January 14, 2023.
On Monday, Purushottam appeared before the media at his rented house to express his pain and suffering.
When asked to narrate what happened on that fateful day, he recalled that a passenger had flagged him down. “I was driving the rickshaw by a passenger asked to be taken to Pumpwell. Soon there was a loud noise. I couldn’t see anything due to the thick smoke. I somehow stopped the rickshaw. The passenger was burning. He got off the vehicle and I realized my face and hand were burnt too. Later we were admitted to the hospital. I don’t remember anything else,” he said.
Can’t work for one year
Purushottam is 61 years old now. until the incident, he made his living by ferrying passengers on his autorickshaw. Although he has returned home after receiving treatment, he is yet to fully recover. The wound on his hands is still not fully healed, so his family has to feed him.
Purushottam said that the doctors have advised him not to go out for one month. Even then, “I cannot work for another year. Doctors have told me to come for a check-up every 10 days. The medical costs so far were covered by ESI. We used all the money we had for travel and other expenses,” he said.
He said that the government has announced compensation. BJP has said they will provide a new autorickshaw. “If they fulfill their promises, well and good. Otherwise, God alone shall save us,” he lamented.
Daughter’s wedding in May
Purushottam said he is worried about holding his daughter’s wedding scheduled for May this year. His house is being repaired for that. “Some are helping. Currently, we are living in this rented house provided by my friend. My friend hasn’t asked me for rent,” he said.
Purushottam’s family said that MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, Minister Sunil Kumar, MLA Vedavyas Kamath, former MLA J. R. Lobo, Ivan D’Souza, and others have visited him. They said they are hopeful that the government will fulfill its promise.