Kodagu disaster: Shattered parents of ‘vanished’ daughter helplessly cremate her wooden effigy

Harsha Raj Gatty | coastaldigest.com
October 12, 2018

Aggrieved over their failure to trace their beloved daughter, who was “vanished” when massive floods and landslides wrecked havoc in parts of Karnataka nearly two months ago, parents of the class 10 girl have laid her effigy to rest at Jodupala, a calamity hit village in Kodagu district, bordering Dakshina Kannada.

Draped in a traditional Kodava saree, decked with sports medals, school bag, select ear rings and jewelleries that were among the favorites of their daughter, Somayya and Jayanthi silently accompanied an effigy along with a lengthy procession of family members, relatives, neighbours and the classmates of Manjula on Thursday, October 11. The wooden sculpted effigy was in memory of a 15-year old, whose whereabouts are unknown since August 17.

Manjula, originally a resident of Bettatturu, was residing with her maternal uncle Basappa, aunt Gauramma and her cousin Monisha at Jodupala. "Along with being good at studies, she was an ace throw-ball player, having brought several laurels to school and the district. To pursuit her sporting passion and reduce her daily commute, she resided at her relative’s place," Ganapathy, Principal of a local school said.

However, when heavy rains lashed Kodagu in August this year, several areas of Jodupala witnessed severe landslides. One such landslide hit the house of Basappa on August 17, burying the family.

With subsequent relief efforts, the rescue officials were able to retrieve and positively identify the body of Basappa, Gauramma and Monisha, but Manjula's body was not discovered.

Several attempts were made by the personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF); the matter was even brought to the notice of legislator KG Bopaiah, who requested the authorities to intensify the search for the missing member of the family but to no avail. "In September, a skeleton remain was found in surrounding area of the collapsed house, but later it was found to be of some animal," Poornima, a local resident said.

Meanwhile, the family has been kept in abeyance from any monetary assistance from the authorities in the absence of the 'body'. Nevertheless, the family decided to cremate the body of Manjula at the same spot where the house collapsed. "I have three other children. My only regret is being unable to see my daughter's face in the final moments, which is emotionally draining me. "We only want to ensure that we perform the final rites of our child, so that at least her soul may rest in peace," Somayya said.

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News Network
January 4,2021

Bengaluru, Jan 4: The much-awaited train service to Kempegowda International Airport began on Monday with South Western Railway (SWR) running Demo trains. When the first passengers alighted the train and hopped into a waiting shuttle bus to the terminal, airport connectivity recorded a landmark event.

The first of the 10 trains on the Airport line rolled out from the K S R Bengaluru Railway Station exactly at 04:45 hrs. Member of Parliament P C Mohan, railway officials and media personnel were among the first passengers to take the maiden train trip to the airport.

For rail activists campaigning for this critical rail link for years, the Monday morning trip was the culmination of a long, tiring struggle. The train connectivity will now be available for thousands of airport workers and passengers at Rs 10 per ticket.

"A small step by Railways but a giant leap in Bengaluru Airport connectivity to the main city. Congratulations BIAL,” tweeted the Divisional Railway Manager, SWR. The Halt Station was built by the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL). BIAL has also arranged the shuttle bus services between the station and the terminals free-of-cost.

In a tweet, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, "This will go a long way in enhancing last-mile connectivity to Bengaluru airport, (it will) benefit lakhs of people and reduce the traffic congestion drastically."

Available on all days except Sundays, the trains on the airport line will cost Rs 10 for commuters boarding from Yeshwanthpur and Rs 15 for those boarding at the Cantonment Station. 

Airport-bound passengers and workers could take the Metro and hop on to the airport trains at Yeshwanthpur, K S R Station or at Baiyappanahalli Metro Terminal.

Five pairs of trains have commenced operations with a one-minute stoppage at the KIA Halt Station. Two of these are from K S R Bengaluru Station, one from Yelahanka and two from Yeshwanthpur. The number and frequency of trains could increase once the Railways and BIAL comes to an understanding on the peak hour traffic of arrivals and departures.

The first train on Monday reached the Halt Station at 5.50 am, an hour and five minutes after departure from the K S R Station. However, the journey time is expected to drastically reduce once the line is doubled or a crossing station comes up at Doddajala.

Although air passengers will not find immediate benefit due to the low frequency, many taking early morning flights are likely to switch to the airport train.

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News Network
January 7,2021

Bengaluru, Jan 7: Karnataka Minority Welfare and Textiles Minister Shrimant Balasaheb Patil on Wednesday said that very shortly the 'Love Jihad Act' will be enacted in the state. 

The Love Jihad Act is the name given by the BJP to a law to prevent conversions of Hindu girls who fall in love with Muslim men. This term was promoted by right wing chauvinists in Mangaluru in 2000 and is considered a bogey propagated by right-wing groups, claiming that men from the Muslim community are marrying women from other religious faiths, particularly Hindu women, and forcing them to convert to Islam.

The statement came as the Supreme Court decided to examine the legality of an ordinance passed by the Uttar Pradesh cabinet on the issue. It may be recalled that Uttar Pradesh had enacted an ordinance against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions, which provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 50,000 under different categories.

Patil on Wednesday told reporters that there is no confusion within the ruling BJP in the state over bringing the Love Jihad Act. "This is a very huge subject involving many aspects. Therefore, various departments are trying to elicit opinions through consultation with experts. At present, the legal department is deliberating about this with experts," he explained.

He also added that the government is also contemplating to introduce scholastic syllabus in Madrasas. "We want to bring reforms in Madrasas. There is a need for those who come out of these schools to directly take admission in ITI courses," he said.

One of the vocal proponents of the Love Jihad Act is Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa, who has been saying that Love Jihad is an international conspiracy, and there is a racket that traps young girls on the pretext of love.

"People should be aware of those exploiting young girls and converting them to their religion. We should systematically remove this racket from our society. Conventions like today will create awareness about this," he had said while demanding the BJP to come out with a stringent law. 

It is important to note that no term called ‘love jihad’ is defined in current Indian laws. During a Parliamentary session in the Lok Sabha in February 2020, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy had said that no case of ‘love jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies. “Article 25 of the Constitution provides the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. Various courts have upheld this view, including the Kerala High Court,” he said in his reply at the session.

Two months ago, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had formally announced that the government would take strong measures to put an end to religious conversion in the name of love and marriage. Since Yediyurappa's formal announcement, credence to enact laws has only grown in proportion. BJP state unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel has been regularly tweeting and demanding that a stringent law against 'Love Jihad' is needed in Karnataka.

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News Network
January 9,2021

Mysuru, Jan 9: Karnataka and Kerala have sounded an alert to contain two strains of bird flu — H5N1 and H5N8 — in recent days after the death of birds especially in Kerala and this has directly impacted the poultry industry in Mysuru region.

Hundreds of poultries in Mysuru depend on Kerala hotels to market meat and eggs and with the ban on movement of trucks to the neighbouring State from here there is a slump in demand and naturally, the poultry industry is again bracing for losses like last year.

The demand for chicken and eggs dipped drastically last year as due to bird flu scare Restaurants and eateries cancelled orders. Thousands of birds were culled, pushing poultry farmers into a deep crisis.

Mysuru city has over 64 poultry farms and there are over 200 in the district. They mainly produce broiler chicken to be sent to Kerala as the neighbouring State is the biggest consumer. The products supplied to chicken shops, hotels and restaurants in Mysuru are limited with the bulk being sent to Kerala with a daily load of 10 to 11 trucks, each carrying birds that weigh up to six tonnes.

Due to the ban, these trucks cannot transport birds and the stocks are piling up and with a bleak market in Mysuru due to the scare, prices are set to fall. Every day, over 66,000 kgs of chicken is added to the stocks. “Forget broiler chicken, even the popular ‘naati’ variety too is not seeing any demand,” official sources said.

Normally, once the eggs hatch, it takes 40 to 60 days for a bird to grow and they are well fed to develop meat and fat. Merchants said that at present 1 kg of meat is sold between Rs120 and Rs 200 and the prices are set to see a downward trend in a day or two. “Usually, the price of chicken declines during summer every year as there is less demand for fowls during hot climates. This year, however, we are foreseeing a slump in prices early,” officials said.

Mysuru Traders Coordination Committee President Ramesh Bhyrappa said that since 10 to 11 loads of poultry does not go to Kerala there will be a glut and this will reduce prices.

“Traders buy birds from poultry owners after paying Rs 85 per kg and after adding other costs, the meat is sold at Rs 120 per kg. The prices will drop in one or two days,” he added.

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