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Loganathan's kin flying in for last rites

india Updated: Apr 18, 2007 12:35 IST

IANS
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Ten members of the family of Professor GV Loganathan, one of the five faculty members named so far among 32 victims of the April 16 Virginia Tech (VT) massacre, are flying down from India for his last rites that will take place in the next two days, his colleagues said.

Surajit Kumar De Datta, director of international research, education and development, and associate provost for international affairs, who was arranging visas for them, said that the professor's parents, in-laws, three brothers and three sisters-in-law are expected.

Loganathan, 53, is survived by his homemaker wife, Usha, two daughters - Uma is graduating in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia and Abirami is a 7th grade student.

Loganathan taught civil and environmental engineering and had been with VT for over 20 years.

Datta, who has been with VT for the last 15 years, said the university in Virginia has about 450 students from India, the highest number from any country, and 30-odd Indian American faculty.

According to him, there was no indication so far of any other student or faculty of Indian origin getting killed or injured in America's worst campus massacre.

The Indian Student Association (ISA) had also posted a one-line note on its website after the massacre, saying no student of Indian descent had yet been identified among those killed. But one of the ISA members later said they had been instructed not to make any further statements and to refer all calls to Kim Bassinger of the Cranwell International Center at 540-230-874.

People close to Loganathan, honoured as an excellent teacher by the university, are all praise for him as a teacher and as a person. Vijayalakshmi Mallikarjunan, network administrator, environmental health & safety, Virgnia Tech, said she and her husband, Kumar Mallikarjunan, associate professor of biological systems engineering at VT, were family friends of Loganathan.

In a choked voice she said on the phone from VT campus, "His killing is a big loss for us personally and for the Indian community here, which is now trying to give a hand to his family."

Mallikarjunan said the professor was a very simple man who got excited about little things. "Recently there was a gathering at our house and he sent out emails to various people about it," she recounted.

Dutta, whose daughter learnt dance from Loganathan's wife, said the slain professor was a true gentleman.

Loganathan was shot dead when he was teaching in Norris Hall on the sprawling 2,600 acre campus of VT in Blacksburg, Virginia. The gunman has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui, who came to the US from South Korea when he was eight.

Loganathan belonged to Karatadipalayam village in Erode district of Tamil Nadu. After graduating from Madras University, he did his master's at IIT, Kanpur, earning his Ph.D. from Purdue University in Indiana.