22 April 2019
Bengaluru: None of the family members of the 7 Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) activists received a call from any of them after the serial blasts in Colombo on Easter Sunday, said a sibling on Monday.
"My brother N. Puttaraju called me on Sunday morning and said he landed in Colombo along with 6 others safely and were in a hotel (Shangri La). There was no call again from him after the blasts," sibling Rudresh told IANS from Nelamangala, 40km northwest of Bengaluru.
Of the 7 party activists, 5 were declared dead and two missing after the serial blasts in a church and 3-star hotels in Colombo and other cities in Sri Lanka, in which about 290 were killed and over 500 injured.
Puttaraju is one of the two missing with A. Maregowda being the other while Lakshmana Gowda Ramesh, K.M. Lakshminarayan, M. Rangappa, K.G. Hanumantharayappa and Narayan Chandra were among the victims.
Rudresh and 6 party activists from Tumkur district, about 70km northwest Bengaluru, flew to the island nation on Saturday on a 4-day holiday trip for sigh-seeing in Colombo and Kandy. They were booked to fly back on April 24.
"When we heard the news and saw the visuals of the blasts in churches and hotels in Colombo on Sunday morning, I tried to reach my brother. But there was no response from his mobile. Relative of others also had the same reply," Rudresh recalled.
As there was no call from any of the activists or information on their whereabouts, Rudresh called the ruling party office in Bengaluru to find out if his brother and friends were safe in the aftermath of the deadly terror attacks.
"The party office too did not have any information, but assured us to get back soon. State Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who is from the JD-S, directed his office to get into touch with the Indian High Commission through the External Affairs Ministry for updates.
Though Kumaraswamy was busy campaigning for the party's candidates in the state's northern region for polling on Tuesday, he asked state Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar to find out from the hotel where the activists checked in in the wee hours of Sunday and were to go out after breakfast.
"We came to know on Sunday night that 4-5 Indians died in the blasts, but had no clue about the fate of my brother and his friends. We learnt on Monday morning from our party office that some activists were among the victims," said Rudresh.
While Rudresh is hopeful of Puttaraju being alive and safe, the party and the state government have told the High Commission to ascertain if he and Marigowda were in any of the hospitals for treatment to injuries they too would have suffered in the blast.
All the relatives of the activists met the party leaders and plan to meet Kumaraswamy and party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda in Bengaluru on Tuesday after the polling.