THOOTHUKUDI: It was all silence and gloom at the fishermen’s colony when the body of Cyclone Ockhi victim Jude Fernando (41) was brought home past midnight and buried around 3 am on Saturday.
Jude’s was one among the bodies that washed ashore at Vizhinjam beach in Kerala. After several biological investigations, including DNA test, doctors at Thiruvananthapuram handed over his body to the family members. Jude is survived by his wife and three kids.
Sources said six fishermen, including Jude and his elder son Barath (19), Ravindran, Keniston, Joseph and Jagan from fisher’s colony in Thoothukudi went to Colachel in Kanniyakumari district on November 28 to earn a living.
Sources said he ventured into sea from Colachel fishing port on November 29. The boat he was sailing toppled in the turbulent weather triggered by Cyclone Ockhi. Their bodies were washed ashore a couple of days later in Vizhinjam. However, Jagan managed to escape by clinging onto plastic drums for two-and-a-half days, sources said. Right now, he is under treatment.
Jude’s cousin Ramesh said they went fishing from Colachel on November 28.
After the recovery of the body, Thiruvananthapuram General Hospital ordered a DNA test as it was in a decomposed state. As DNA test results of Jude matched with his wife and daughters, the doctors handed over the body to his relatives on Friday night.
Jude’s relatives thanked Thoothukudi CPM district secretary Arjunan, who spent a week in Thiruvananthapuram until the body was recovered.
CPM Town Secretary D Raja and officials of the Fisheries Department are still in Thiruvananthapuram as DNA test on the bodies of the remaining fishermen is on.
Another family member said the ruling AIADMK functionary offered `5,000 upon knowing the incident.
The fishermen said that DNA test results were awaited for the bodies suspected to be of Keniston,
Ravindran and Barath.
Search is still on to find the body of Joseph.
Fishers start indefinite stir
With grief looming large over their heads, fishermen and women started an indefinite strike at Chinnathurai coastal village here on Saturday. Totally oblivious about the fate of their dear ones, the women said they had not cooked anything for the last nine days. It is mostly the women and children from the coastal villages, including Chinnathurai, Eraviputhenthurai, Thoothoor and other places, who are participating in the indefinite protest held near Chinnathurai bus stand.
An elderly woman Francis Amma from Eraviputhenthurai said four, including her sons, son-in-law and brother, had ventured into the sea from Kochi before the cyclone. “But until now, we have not got any information about them,” she said.