MADURAI: For the children of the victims of the Paramakudi police firing incident, memories of the dark day is etched inside.
With a view to helping these children get over their bitter, painful memories, Pe-ople’s Watch, a human rights advocacy group, in association with Dalit Foundation, Delhi, organised a four-day summer camp at the Rural Theological Institute, Perunkudi, that began on Saturday. The camp will end on May 29.
Around 23 students, who are either children of the victims of the police firing at Paramakudi or have been directly affected by the incident, took part in the camp. Students studying in IV to those in college were part of the camp.
They are being trained by Kalaivanan, a puppet artiste, and Thirukkural Ellappan, who is known for his memory power. Both are from Chennai.
Activities such as playing, singing and dancing keep the students occupied in a fun way. Motivational and educational classes would also be conducted. The students are also taught new games, songs, music, how to hone their drawing skills and short cuts to memorise a list of places.
Kalaimaran of Thavalaikulam near Paramakudi, a second year student in a polytechnic college, said that he could not forget the incident. The police present in the area caned him heavily during the incident due to which he was hospitalised. Since then, he could not behave normally and was always scared when he sees a policeman.
The summer camp, he said, made him forget the incident and that he was enjoying himself, at least for the moment.
Gauthami, a student of BA Tamil in Paramakudi, said her father was heavily injured during the police lathi charge. Since then he could not work carry out his work, like he used to before.
She said that a short stay in the camp has removed the pictures of the bitter past of the police firing from her mind. She was relieved and was enjoying with the other children at the camp.
I Bagyaraj, who is coordinating the camp on behalf of Peoples’ Watch, said that he himself was a victim of police atrocities during the hunt for forest brigand Veerappan.
He said that he did his Masters in Social Work with the aide of People’s Watch. He has been working with Pe-ople’s Watch for the last two years since he finished his studies.