Unnao- Mukesh Kumar, a native of the Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh, was working in Srinagar, Kashmir, when he fell victim to a fatal shooting by terrorists. Following this tragic incident, his body was airlifted to Lucknow airport on Tuesday, October 31. Regrettably, the family encountered a lack of necessary funds to arrange transportation for the body.
Consequently, they were compelled to take a loan as they did not receive any financial assistance from the government. Adding to their distress, the family claimed that the accountant, who had initially assured to cover the ambulance expenses, was now unresponsive. Facing a situation with no income source and possessing only 10 Biswa of land, the family finds themselves engulfed in a multitude of challenges.
When The Mooknayak team visited Mukesh Kumar's house in Bhatpura village of Purva tehsil, 40 km from Lucknow, they found a small house, devoid of plaster and with empty rooms that illustrated the family's poverty. An old box and clothes lay on a broken cot, painting a stark picture of their hardship. The children appeared visibly hungry, waiting for assistance.
Kusma (35), Mukesh Kumar's wife (42), tearfully asked, "What harm had my husband done to the terrorists? He was merely working as a laborer to earn a living. Why was he shot?"
Mukesh Kumar, a member of the Scheduled Caste community, had been working at a brick kiln in Srinagar for 15 years. Every year in May he went to work in Srinagar and returned in November. The family's financial limitations led Mukesh to travel in cramped conditions, from Lucknow to Jammu in the train's running compartment, then continuing the journey to Srinagar by car or truck. This had been a routine for many years. Three months ago, Mukesh went to work in a brick kiln in Tuchi Naupora, Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir. He was tragically shot dead by terrorists on 31 October. His family was informed by the people he worked with in the village.
Mukesh's brother, Ram Vilas, highlighted the family's plight, emphasizing the meager 10 Biswa land holding. Following Mukesh's death, the family faced a severe livelihood crisis, affecting not only them but also their father, Ganga Prasad, and brother, Hariram.
The deceased's body was transported from Jammu Airport to Amausi Airport in Lucknow on Tuesday by the Jammu and Kashmir Police and Army. Naib Tehsildar Ashutosh Pandey, Kanungo Brajesh Singh, and Lekhpal Jaishankar were present at the airport. However, the family lacked the funds to hire a vehicle to bring Mukesh's body home.
Mukesh had deposited two thousand rupees in his wife's account for Diwali expenses, hoping it would help them get through the festival.
Upon the body's arrival at the village, Mukesh's wife became distressed, wondering how she would care for their children without her husband. Their daughter, Nisha Khushi, and sons, Pankaj and Balbir, were also deeply affected upon seeing their father's lifeless body.
Contractor Rajnarayan, responsible for transporting laborers to Jammu and Kashmir, brought the deceased's body from Jammu. He mentioned that Mukesh had pending wages of approximately Rs 50,000, which he would ensure is given to Mukesh's wife, Kusuma.
A ration card at Mukesh's house list only one person, hence one unit of ration is disbursed monthly which is not enough for sustenance for a family of five including Mukesh's wife, Kusma, and their children—Nisha (19), Pankaj (14), Khushi (12), and Ankush (10).
Village head Shiv Bhan Yadav highlighted the family's dire condition and the need for coordination with the accountant and tehsildar to secure government financial assistance.
District Magistrate of Unnao, Apoorva Dubey, assured that a meeting would be held to provide assistance to the family in accordance with the rules.
Translated by Geetha Sunil Pillai