Mangalore: Crash site brings back painful memories

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The Hindu

  • Mehmoona, her husband Ashraf and their two children died in the crash


Mangalore, 20 May 2011: Mohiuddin, a resident of Kasaragod, just walked down a few steps from the road to see the place where the aircraft had crashed. As he was seeing the site, a plane flew across. He saw the aircraft, wiped his tears, and climbed up towards the road.


Mohiuddin had come along with his family members to visit the site where his adorable younger sister Mehmoona and her family members died in the crash on May 22, 2010. “I was in Saudi Arabia at the time of the air crash,” Mr. Mohiuddin said while recounting the days he spent with his younger sister.


“She was youngest of my 10 brothers and sisters. She was close to my mother Aaisha,” he said.


Mehmoona, her husband Ashraf (33), their two children –Ashaz and Afreen, and Ashraf’s brother Irshad were among 158 persons killed in the crash of the Air India Express plane in Kenjar near the New Mangalore Airport. Mehmoona and her family were coming from Dubai to take part in her brother-in-law Irshad’s marriage that was scheduled in June 2010.


Mr. Mohiuddin said it had been difficult for them and members of Ashraf’s family, who hail from Ullal, to comprehend the loss of their family members. “My mother died because of grief three months ago. Ashraf’s mother is yet to recover from illness following loss of her two children,” he said.


Mr. Mohiuddin said the families were yet to receive compensation of Rs. 75,000 that had been promised by the Air India officials. “They have paid Rs. 10,000 so far. The officials are telling us to accept Rs. 30,000 and be satisfied. We have not agreed,” he said.


Mr. Mohiuddin said he would take part in the meeting of the families of victims to be held in Sahodaya Hall on May 21.



There was a steady stream of visitors to the crash site on Thursday. One among them was J. Cristine, who was on a visit to Subrahmanya. “My driver brought me here to show me the site of crash,” she said. Ms. Cristine was unhappy over the state of plaque that had the names of victims of the crash. “I do not know why the plaque has not been restored so far,” she said.



Mangalore: AI to donate community hall in memory of victims

Mangalore, 20 May 2011 (TNN): The Air India management is not keen on reconstructing the vandalized memorial, erected in memory of the victims of Air India Boeing IX812 of May 22 at Ground Zero. Instead, the management is actively pursuing the idea of donating infrastructure in the form of a community hall or a reading room, for the panchayat to further the memory of the victims of the crash, to Kenjaru Village under Malavoor gram panchayat.


The memorial erected by Air India was vandalized on October 4 last year and still remains so. Vandals had destroyed the granite tablets on which the names of the deceased had been inscribed.


A top Air India official on condition of anonymity said that memorials are basically a western concept and do not gel well the Indian culture or concept. "I have put up a proposal before the management and it has been accepted. When we visit Ground Zero on May 22, we will put up this proposal before the panchayat and will go ahead if they accept it," said the official. "A stand alone memorial will not serve the purpose. Hence we want memorial which will serve public purpose," the official added.


Malavoor gram panchayat official Narayana Bodi told TOI that he would gladly accept the proposal from the management. "However, I will put it before the members during the panchayat general body meeting to be held on May 25 for approval, after I receive a formal proposal from the AI officials," Bodi said.


The Air India source said that they may decide to hand over a lump sum amount to the panchayat and execute the project under the supervision of AI.


Meanwhile, the bare bone steel skeleton which housed the granite tablet at Ground Zero is serving as a grim reminder of the incident. The police also does have much headway into the incident. Police had also informed AI that they will not be able to provide security in case they reconstruct the memorial, as it was in a place less frequented by public.



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Comments on this Article
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Fri, May-20-2011, 11:21
All that is welcome- the sentiments expressed, the memorial to be created etc are secondary. The primary responsibility is to settle the legitimate compensation as per the international norms-Montreal covention as incorporated in Carriage by AIR Act, 1972, as amended 2009 in which the terms and quantum of minimum compensation is guaranteed. M/s Mulla and Mulla are not following this law strictly. They are twisting the matter and delaying, which is to be protested by all public who really want some thing is to be done to the berieved families. One year is over yet more than 50% of the claimants are look for the relief. The case in the Kerala High Court is pending. It has not stayed settlement as per the Law. For want of precedents perhaps the decision is pending. BUt the International decision which is adopted by the Indian parliament is to be respected by all.
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