Mangalore: Air Crash Burial Site a Victim of Neglect?
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Note: The purpose of this article is not to revisit the tragedy or hurt anybody's sentiments, but to focus on an important issue that has gone neglected by the authorities.
Mangalore, Jul 15: May 22, 2010 was perhaps the most unforgettable day in Mangalore's history. It was a day that tested our spirits and drained our strength. The air crash incident shattered us to bits, but it also brought out the human in us - our unity, our intergrity in the time of crisis was unprecedented. The people of Mangalore got together irrespective of caste, creed and religion and set an example of communal harmony and unity.
The third deadliest aviation disaster in India, the Dubai-Mangalore Air India Express crash is still etched deep in the minds of Mangaloreans. The Air India Express flight with 166 passengers and 6 crew members on board, overshot the runway on landing, fell off a cliff and caught fire, spreading wreckage all over the nearby hills. As a result, 158 passengers lost their lives.
After the preliminary identification and claims made by families, there were nearly 12 unidentified bodies. A DNA test was conducted after which, it was decided to bury the bodies.
While the search for an appropriate burial location was being made, the administration with the help of Yathish Baikampady came across an apt place for the same. A sacred and a silent place, on the banks of the Gurpur River near Kulur, situated on the left side of the entrance to Tannirubhavi was chosen.
All arrangements were made for the mass burial, as per the religious rituals of Hindu, Muslims and Christians. A large crowd gathered to bid their deepest condolences to the departed souls. Everything was conducted in a fair and orderly manner.
This place should have actually been recognized as a place for communal harmony. In May this year, the second anniversary of the tragedy was observed, but it is disheartening to see that the place used for the mass burial does not hold the significance that it should.
There are no boards or signs to show the significance of the area or the day. The ignorance of the district admininstration is pitiful in this instance. The least that the authorities could do is to put a fence arould the plot, so that the grieving families can visit and offer their prayers.
Speaking to Daijiworld, Yathish Baikampady, director, Panambur Beach Tourism Development and Keshav K, consultant, UPCL, expressed their deep grievance towards this issue. They urged the district administration to protect this place by building a small memorial park at the site, which would accomodate many visitors.
Yathish Baikampady also requested the administration to grant them the permission to build a memorial. A valuable place can be set up with the help of private funds or donations, just in case the government does not help in the future.
The fact is that, the land development would not cost much. A compound wall, leveling and a platform to pray is all that the site requires. While the government can manage to fund other projects for the city, they can afford to develop this important site too.
The public plays a pivotal role in this process. If everyone gets together as one community, Mangalore can honour and remember the departed souls of its people in the best way possible.
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