Two years into jumbo attack, Mysore, victim's family move on

Devastating impact

Two years into jumbo attack, Mysore, victim's family move on

Shivabasammanni was at home when she heard panic calls from outside. She ran out and saw a crowd running helter-skelter. Initially, she dismissed it as ‘alert public chasing a thief’. But it slowly dawned upon her that the frenzied rush around was about to have a direct and a devastating impact on her life.

It’s two years since the jumbo raid (June 8, 2011) in the city claimed a life, leaving behind four injured -- two each of men and women. Renukaswamy, husband of Shivabasammanni, was however the unfortunate victim who was trampled to death by seven year old male jumbo.

Renukaswamy, who was aged 55 years at the time of his death was working as a security guard with CISBF firm. He was posted at the ATM of Bank of Maharashtra on Narayan Shastri road close to his home.

On Friday, when Deccan Herald visited Renuka Swamy’s house, his wife Shivabasammanni was cleansing the house for the death anniversary. Battling tears, she recalled the day, when life came to a standstill. 

“He was on night shift and was about to finish his duty, when he came in the sight of the jumbo. Fearing that the pachyderm may damage the ATM, he hurriedly pulled down the shutters, only to enrage the jumbo. He ran for life, but was eventually killed by the elephant,” recalled Shivabasammanni.

Renukaswamy was the breadwinner of the family earning Rs 5,000 as salary at that time, while Shivabasammanni was supplementing the family by selling vada (crispy food item), near the house during evening hours. However, Shivabasammanni has no need to work anymore.

Unlike other cases, where relief eludes victims, Shivabasammanni got a relief of Rs five lakh from the State Government.  Her elder son Devaraj got a job on contract basis with forest department, and the credit goes to then forest minister C H Vijayashankar. 

Shivabasammanni said that her family was sustaining on the Rs 3,500 earned as an interest from Rs five lakh deposited in a bank, and her children’s earnings. Her younger son Renuka Prasad works with a flower decorator.

What bothers the family now is Devaraj’s job with forest department. He works as a daily wager under contract basis at the nursery of forest department near Chamundi Hill. “Absent for a day means cut in day’s payment,” bemoans Shivabasammanni. What has kept him (Devaraj) going is, the hope of regularisation of job in the future.

Flashback

On June 8, 2011, two jumbos separated from a herd, strayed into the city from N R Mohalla side. While one jumbo (a makhna) remained in a farm at Rajendra Nagar on the outskirts, another went on a rampage in the city. Starting from 5.30 am, the jumbo attacked whoever came in its way, ambling and running along Bamboo Bazaar, JLB road, Oval Grounds, JSS Women’s College in Saraswatipuram, before falling off its feet at dhobi ghat opposite Kukkarahalli lake. The elephants were later released into Bandipur forest.

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