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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

In death of a transporter, minors lose father, extended family a father figure

Prakash Pandey died in ICU two days after he consumed poison before entering a Janata Darbar at BJP headquarters in Dehradun.

dehradun Updated: Jan 09, 2018 21:12 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Prakash Pandey’s relatives mourn in Dehradun.
Prakash Pandey’s relatives mourn in Dehradun. (HT PHOTO)

Thirty-five-year old KV Pandey is yet to come to terms with the tragedy that has befallen his family. He was at work in a private firm in New Delhi on Saturday, when a family member called him to inform that his cousin Prakash Pandey has consumed poison.

Prakash, the eldest among the brothers in the extended family, was a transporter based in Haldwani. He had consumed poison before entering a Janata Darbar at BJP headquarters in Dehradun where Uttarakhand agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal was listening to people’s grievances.

A teary-eyed Prakash told the minister that his business has been ruined after demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax and that he had to consume poison as his attempts to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and chief minister Trivendra Rawat through letters failed.

Rushed to a private hospital, Prakash died at 12.30 pm Tuesday died during treatment. Doctors said he suffered multiple organ failure coupled with respiratory failure and severe pneumonia.

“He was the eldest in the family and it feels as if I have lost my father,” said KV Pandey, as he sat shell-shocked in Room No. 3420 of Max Hospital. Two other relatives present in the room looked on, no expression on their faces even as a police constable stood guard.

Prakash’s rants against the governments at the Centre and in the state that went viral in the form of two videos — one that he shot himself after consuming poison and the other that media recorded at the Janata Darbar —have given an ammunition to the Opposition in the mountain state. However, even the videos have come as a shock.

“He was an apolitical man. On his social handles, Prakash had always praised PM Modi. It, however, is true that he was a victim of GST and demonetisation. He had written to the PM’s Office in this regard,” said advocate Umesh Melkani, Prakash’s brother-in-law.

“He was fighting for the rights of the entire transporter community,” Melkani added.

The relatives hadn’t let Prakash’s wife and two minor children come to Dehradun. “We didn’t want them to go through the turmoil and turn them into a pawn for political parties,” said Lalit Mohan Pandey, 25, another cousin of Prakash’s.

A posse of policemen remained deployed at Max Hospital Tuesday afternoon. Hospital’s in-house security also remained on toes. The security banned the entry of media persons into the hospital.

However, former forest minister Dinesh Aggarwal along with Congress state president Pritam Singh and party leader Suryakant Dhasmana met the deceased’s family at the hospital.

CM Rawat said he was sad to learn about Pandey’s death. “We have just been informed that Mr Pandey passed away at Max Hospital. It is extremely sad to hear this. Doctors attending him tried hard to save him.”

Rawat said Pandey was on life support, but could not be saved “as he had taken more than the fatal dose of poison,” he told reporters.

Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat said the death was a “shameful” incident for the state government. “Pandey represented scores of people struggling to support their families. It is a matter of shame for the state government that it could not do anything to save the man. He has fallen victim to GST and demonetisation,” he said.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 21:12 IST