Wailing women, bawling children, distressed men - Prime Minister NarendraModi walked into a maelstrom of sorrow and anguish at the fishing village of Poonthura here on Tuesday evening.
Mr.Modi, who was here as part of a whirlwind tour of Lakshadweep, Kanyakumari, and Kerala to assess the impact of Cyclone Ockhi, witnessed an outpouring of grief by the families of fishermen from the coastal villages in Thiruvananthapuram.
Many of the hundreds who turned up at the Poonthura community hall were hugging pictures of spouses, brothers or sons lost to the cyclone.
Women, who had been waiting for more than an hour, were in tears as Mr.Modi entered the hall, along with Governor P.Sathasivam, Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan, Ministers and officials. They shouted and screamed for attention as Mr.Modi was escorted into the crowd near the dais.
He listened in rapt attention as a couple of fishermen narrated their losses and sorrow and vented their anger at the delay in search and rescue operations for the missing fisherfolk. Union Minister K.J.Alphonse was at hand to translate the narration in Malayalam.
Later, addressing the gathering, Mr.Modi assured the stricken families that the Government of India was one with them in the hour of need and sorrow. He promised to rebuild shattered lives and restore the livelihoods of the affected families.
Recalling that Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman had flown down to Kerala immediately after the cyclone, he said the Navy and Coast Guard had launched search and rescue operations. He added that efforts were on to bring back fishers who had reached other shores after being stranded at sea.
As Mr.Modi left the hall after the brief interaction lasting about 20 minutes, the crowd erupted into loud protests. Many of the families vented their ire at not being given an opportunity to be heard by the Prime Minister.
Ministers E. Chandrasekharan, KadakampallySurendran, and J. MercykuttyAmma, MLAs O.Rajagopal and V.S.Sivakumar, Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram SoosaPakiam M. and Suresh Gopi, MP, were among those present at the venue.
Credits: The Hindu