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Carlton survivors salute the fiery WARRIORS

DNBAN38322 | 2/24/2011 | Author : DNA Correspondent | WC :466 | Disasters & Accidents

The mood at Manipal Hospital on Old Airport Road was sombre and of grief. But the resolve to go beyond Carlton and make the city safer was vivid on each face that attended a memorial service held in memoriam of nine lives cut short a year ago.
Tears rolled down the cheeks of Natasha, 12, and Nisha, 10, as they watched a video created by those who had survived death on February 23, 2010. Their mother Benzie Kumar was not part of the team that had created the video. She was one among nine persons who had died in the tragedy.
Life has been difficult for the relatives of those dead and survivors of Carlton Towers fire. However, the tragedy brought them — once total strangers — together under an umbrella called Beyond Carlton.
Together they fight a legal battle to punish those responsible for the fire, to ensure all received compensation, and to make city safer from such incidents.
The Association for the Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy has declared solidarity with Beyond Carlton, initiated by Uday, who had lost his son Akhil Uday in the incident.“Over the past 12 months, we have met the chief minister, police commissioner and senior officers of the fire department. In the coming days, we have plans to plant nine saplings in the memory of nine lives lost in the fire tragedy in a park next to Carlton Towers,” said Nitin Dubey, a survivor and active member of Beyond Carlton.
Maneesha Ramakrishnan, another survivor, still cannot speak properly. She is on a tracheostomy tube.
“Inhaling the smoke has affected my larynx. After the initial treatment at Manipal Hospital, I was taken to KIMS Hospital at Thiruvananthapuram, where I underwent four surgeries. I have now got in touch with a doctor from Switzerland, who is planning to insert a stent into the voice box, probably in a few months. That is likely to improve my condition,” Maneesha said even as words choked her.
It was just not relatives who attended the event. Friends of the deceased and survivors, too, found time to attend the memorial. One among them was Srinivas, a former colleague of Rajesh Subramaniam.
“He was an ideal son, a loving and dutiful husband and a thorough professional. When he passed away, his wife was six months pregnant. Now, he has a beautiful daughter,” Srinivas said, forgetting for a moment that the proud father had never seen his daughter.
Brijesh Dayanand, friend of Akhil who also did not survive, said he had an eternal thirst for knowledge. “He donated a part of his salary for the well-being of poor children.”
Beyond Carlton observed a minute’s silence at 4 pm. The trust also honoured three firemen, who had gone beyond the call of duty to help those trapped in the Carlton Towers.

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