3 Navy officers and 15 sailors were aboard the INS Sindhurakshak when disaster struck. The Indian Express speaks to the families of five of them
R Venkitraj,Lt Cdr
Venkitraj,35,had joined the Navy as a sailor 17 years ago and was promoted four years ago. Hailing from Thiruvananthapuram,Venkitraj was living in Mumbai with his wife Harani and daughter Dikshitha,3. He could have taken voluntary retirement last year,but chose to stay on because of his dedication to the profession, says his uncle Jayasanker. He recently went to Russia for submarine training. He had sought a few days leave but it wasnt granted. His parents T V Ramakrishnan Potty and Vasundaradevi have gone to Mumbai. Potty has retired from Kerala University as assistant registrar and Vasundaradevi as bank manager.
Vishnu V, Sailor
Vishnu V,22,called his mother Sujatha on Monday evening,asking her to pray for him. It is a daily routine. Vishnu,of Alappuzha in Kerala,had joined the Navy two years ago. He was transferred from Visakhapatnam to Mumbai two weeks ago. His salary was the only steady income for the family. His father Vishwambaran is a casual worker. Sujatha,a postgraduate,was not working but the family ensured the education of Vishnu and Vinayak,the other son, says neigbhour Mini Krishnakumar. Vishnu got selected for the Navy while studying for graduation. His father left for Mumbai on Tuesday. Sujatha has only been told her son has been injured, Krishnakumar says.
Vikas,22,had joined the Navy four years ago. He was the elder son and his salary sustained his family at Thalassery in Kannur. His father,Krishnadas,drives an auto-rickshaw and his mother,Valsala,is not in service. Neighbour C N Murali says Vikas worked in Visakhapatnam before moving to Mumbai. Krishnadas was about to leave for Bangalore for his younger son Vaishaks admission to an engineering college when he got a call from the Navy to travel to Mumbai. Vikas visited home earlier this year. A house of their own was his dream, says Murali. Krishnadas called from Mumbai this evening to inform relatives there was little hope that his son had survived.
Dewri,22,had joined Assam Engineering College but left after only three months because of poverty and took up the Navy job. I cant believe it, says his inconsolable mother,Jagneswari Dewri,on the phone from her one-room hut in Kinapathar-Majarchapori village in Assam. Dada called on Tuesday night,saying he was going undersea and would not be in touch for 20 days, says schoolboy brother Dalton. The family owns four bighas but Dewris father,Jyotish,a marginal farmer,also works on other peoples fields to make ends meet. Naruttam had started sending money even when he was under training, says local MLA Bhupen Bora.
Lawrence,29,is from Vellarada village in Thiruvananthapuram. He got married two months ago,but had to return to the submarine the day after his wedding. He and his wife Soumya were living in Mumbai. He had gone to Russia with the Sindhurakshak when it was taken for a refit. Lawrence,in the Navy for nine years,had joined while studying for his graduation. He worked in Kochi and Visakhapatnam before moving to Mumbai.
The other 13
* Nikhilesh Pal,Lt Commander (Second in Command)
* Alok Kumar,Lt Commander (Communications Officer)
* Sanjeev Kumar,Sailor
* K C Upadhya,Sailor
* Timothy Sinha,Sailor
* Kewal Singh,Sailor
* Sunil Kumar,Sailor
* Dasari Prasad,Sailor
* Rajesh Tootika,Sailor
* Amit K Singh,Sailor
* Atul Sharma,Sailor
* Malay Haldar,Sailor
* Seetaram Badapall,Sailor