The deaths of JDS worker H Puttaraju, who was among seven JDS men who travelled to Sri Lanka on April 20, and Bengaluru businessman S R Nagaraj were officially confirmed by Indian officials in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, taking the number of persons from Karnataka killed in the Sri Lanka blasts to eight.
The name of Puttaraju, 37, a former gram panchayat member in Bangalore Rural district, had figured in the list of seven JDS workers feared dead in the Shangri La Hotel in Colombo, but there was no confirmation earlier.
“Regret to confirm the deaths of two more Indian nationals Mr A Maregowda and Mr H Puttaraju in the blasts in Sri Lanka on Sunday, taking the total number of Indian deaths in the tragedy to 10 as of now,” the Indian high commission in Colombo tweeted on Tuesday.
The identity of Puttaraju and all others was confirmed after friends and family members led by E Krishnappa, a former JDS MLC, landed in Colombo on Monday night to identify and bring the bodies back to India.
Nagaraj, 45, who is an associate of Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy and a relative of a Bengaluru councillor, was not part of the group of JDS workers at Shangri La Hotel. His body is scheduled to be brought back on Tuesday night, officials in the Karnataka government said.
JDS workers Puttaraju and six others —- Lakshmana Gowda Ramesh, K M Lakshminarayan, M Rangappa, K G Hanumantharayappa, H Shivakumar and A Maregowda —- were friends and businessmen with political interests who often travelled to foreign countries on holiday. The seven went to Sri Lanka over the weekend after working for the JDS in the first phase of the Karnataka elections on April 18.
Abilash H, the son of K G Hanumantharayappa, 50, a real estate businessman and associate of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, said his father had called on Sunday morning to report that he was fine. The blast is reported to have happened soon after the call. The seven JDS workers were reportedly grabbing breakfast at a buffet at the hotel on Easter morning when the blast occurred in the dining area.
Puttaraju’s brother B Rudresh said on Monday that the seven “went to Sri Lanka to relax” after helping the party in its Lok Sabha campaign in the first phase of elections held on April 18.
The other JDS workers killed are: Ramesh, 45, who owned liquor sales outlets in the Bangalore Rural region; Lakshminarayana, 54, a former gram panchayat member; Rangappa, 52, a real estate businessman; Maregowda, 43, a businessman in Bengaluru who has two young children; and, Shivakumar, 50, a businessman from Bengaluru.
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