Wednesday’s accident in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur during a procession to mark the 94th anniversary of Appar Swami Guru Puja marked a tragic end to a feud between two families, with the deaths of a teenager and his father’s uncle who rushed to his help.
Eleven people were killed and 14 injured as a chariot from the procession overturned on a high-voltage line in Kalimedu village.
Kalimedu is a village in the Melaveli panchayat, about 5 km west of Thanjavur district.
LIVES, FUED END
Murugesan, 42, lived in Kalimedu resident with his 14-year-old son Rajkumar and a daughter. His maternal uncle, Saminathan, 56, also a farmer, lived next door.
When Saminathan built his house more than a decade ago, the two families got into a fierce fight over one-foot space, which continued till this day.
The accident took place when the chariot was returning to the Appar temple following the three-day annual Chithirai Satya festival.
Murugesan’s son Rajkumar was part of the procession. As the chariot overturned, Rajkumar called out to Saminathan, who was standing about 100-ft away in a tea shop. He rushed to help the boy, but got electrocuted as the ground was wet. The boy, too, died.
People said that there was water in the area when the chariot was being towed and that more than 50 people had left the chariot, thus avoiding a major accident.
Temple cars are chariots that are used to carry representations of Hindu gods on festival days when many devotees pull the cart.
The district administration is conducting an investigation into the mishap. Subsequently, PM Modi announced an ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh each to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives in the accident.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu CM Stalin announced ₹5 lakh ex-gratia to the next kin of the deceased.
The CM visited Kalimedu village to meet the affected families and handed over the aid.