KOLLAM: A 24-year-old Karunagapally native pursuing doctorate at the University of Victoria died in a surfing accident near Tofino in Canada. The deceased is Nijin C John, son of C Johnykutty and Punam Mathews, of Chennala Dale at Kozhikode in Karunagapally. The mishap is learnt to have occurred at Long Beach on Saturday afternoon. “Attempts are on to repatriate the body. Due to public holiday there, we are yet to complete the paper work. We hope formalities will be completed in the next working day. The family has arranged a relative there to coordinate the formalities,” said P Suresh Kumar, ward councillor. He said MPs N K Premachandran and K C Venugopal were in constant touch with Vikas Swarup, India’s High Commissioner to Canada.
Nijin’s cousin Sham said the former had joined the University of Victoria last June for research in Surface Restructuring of Films.“Nijin was a brilliant student,” said Sham. “He also excelled in extracurricular activities, emerging champion in CBSE regional athletics meet and winning the Science India Forum Talent Award, among others. He was also a recipient of Bank Muscat Award, presented to him by former President A P J Abdul Kalam in 2009.” It is learnt Nijin’s friends in Canada have begun a fundraising campaign ‘to meet the funeral expenses’.
Nijin is survived by sister, Elsa John, a second-year MBBS student at Thirunelveli Medical College, mother Poonam Mathews, a teacher with Government AVHS in Thazhava, and father G Johnykutty who runs a swimming academy in Karunagappally. Having completed his integrated MSc in Photonics from Cusat, Nijin carried out various projects at IIST Thiruvananthapuram, IIT Ropar, KIT Germany and at the University of Victoria.
“We received a message from a professor at the University expressing grief over Nijin’s death. He remembered Nijin had a deep knowledge of optics and spectroscopy and was a bright, hardworking and talented scientist,” said Sham.According to Canadian media reports, Nijin had a large gash under his left eye near his cheekbone, which he might have suffered after hitting on the surfboard or rocks. The accident spot is notorious for rip currents, the reports said.