IDUKKI: Flower bouquets and a flickering lamp sat atop a low table inside the house crowded with people from across the state in the remote Manjikkallu in Udumbannoor village near Thodupuzha in the district. Nearby was a small pair of rubber boots, sized to fit a 7-year-old.
On Saturday, the 7-year-old, a native of Kumaramangalam in Idukki, became the first child in the district to die this year after a brutal assault by his mother’s companion, while several other victims in similar incidents in the past are still on the path of recovery.
The entire neighbourhood gathered at the boy’s grandmother’s house to pay their last respects and console the elderly woman and the 4-year-old younger brother after he was declared dead by the Kolencherry Medical College Hospital authorities on Saturday.
The body was laid to rest on the house premises around 9 pm. The boy had been battling for life on a ventilator at the hospital for the past nine days after a brutal attack by his ‘uncle-turned-step-father’, died at 11.35 am on Saturday. He was admitted to the hospital after his mother’s live-in partner brutally assaulted him on March 28 early morning leaving him in coma. He had a 2-inch crack on his skull and over 20 injury marks on his body when he was brought to the hospital.
On Saturday evening, local people, community leaders, and many others, who came to Udumbannoor upon knowing the incident, shed tears after his body was brought to the house for the public to pay last respects.
“He was my beautiful grandson. It’s so hard to realise that his life was cut so short,” mourned the boy’s grandmother. According to relatives, the boy’s mother was married to a person from Thiruvananthapuram. He died of cardiac arrest in May, 2018. The woman had two sons when her husband died. Soon after his death, she became close to Arun Anand, a distant cousin of her husband. She finally decided to live with Arun, taking the kids along with her.
Her mother was against it, but she was adamant. The boy’s grandmother approached the police but the woman told a court that she wanted to go with Arun. But they never married officially. The woman’s mother did not allow Arun to stay in her house. So, the couple lived in Thiruvananthapuram for a while before moving to Kumaramangalam near Thodupuzha.