A decision that saved his life

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The Gangammanakere lake in Tavarekere on the outskirts of the City. dh photos

Asif, Sadiq’s father, told Deccan Herald on Friday that his son was also invited to the lake and that he had not obliged. “He told me that he was invited by his friends when we learnt that they were found dead, but thankfully, he had gone back to school...”

Sadiq had gone out with his mother when this reporter met Asif, accompanying Babu Khan, Suhel Khan’s father, just outside the Muslim burial ground in Tavarekere where Suhel’s body was buried.

The five children, V Somashekhar, Ajith Kumar, Suhel Khan, Vishwaraj and Praveen Kumar, had gone to school during the day and then went to VSM Society, near the school for lunch. “They went there to have lunch as there was a co-operative bank inauguration and had gone missing after that,” said Venkatachala, father of Somashekar, adding that their books and bags are still at the government primary school in Tavarekere.

The school declared holiday on Friday, following the death five of its students. N S Siddalingaiah, a teacher at the school told Deccan Herald that three of the five children who died on Thursday, Ajith Kumar, Suhel Khan, Vishwaraj, had missed school after lunch even on Wednesday.

“...But they came back later and took their bags before going home,” he said, adding that a repetition of their Wednesday’s routine was expected on Thursday, but things turned out to be fatal.

For the families, it was a heartbreaking loss. Mallamma was inconsolable, weeping with her son Vishwaraj’s photo, as Chandrashekar, the victim’s father took this reporter inside their small hut. Probably trying to drown his sorrow, he reeked of alcohol.

Hailing from Yadgir District, Chandrashekar and Mallamma were daily wage labourers, as were Venkatachala and Manjamma, parents of V Somashekhar.

Babu Khan, who has lost all his fingers on the right hand, did not work. He depended on four of his other sons to look after him.

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