How they fought all odds

Fishers who took part in rescue ops recount sectarian mindset.

Thiruvananthapuram: In the midst of massive rescue operations carried out by fishermen in flood-affected areas in the state, there were couple of instances which reflected the sectarian mindset of people.

One of the instances was narrated by Paniyadima,a fisherman who went to Pathanamthitta from Vizhinjam along with his group to rescue the marooned people. As the fishers were rescuing people from the flooded areas, they came across members of an affluent family who refused to enter the boat. "We cannot board the boat of fishermen," they said much to the shock of the rescue team. However, the fishermen knew that the family was facing extreme danger. "We hung around convincing them despite their casteist and snide remark. Finally the family members understood that staying back would mean end of everything. Then they hopped into our boat," he added.

He was speaking at a function organised by students of Government Model Boys HSS , Thycaud to honour the fishermen.

"I have studied only up to fourth standard. But I still recollect the pledge that we used to take in school Assembly which said India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters," he said and added that they set out for Pathanamthitta to rescue people with this conviction.

He said their group was confronted with snakes, scorpions and leeches. "Braving such dangers and even risking our lives, myself and colleagues Freddie and Jiller rescued people using ropes and chairs. We worked through the day without food. But our focus was only on rescuing stranded people. We never looked into the caste or religion of the people who were to be rescued. We considered them as our own brothers and sisters," he added.

The fishermen told the students assembled on the occasion to learn swimming. The students of the school honoured the them with shawls and cash prize.

Headmaster Suresh Baby gave away mementos while senior teacher Ramani presented cash awards.

However, the fishers requested the school authorities to utilise their cash prize money for flood relief.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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