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18 years after losing her leg in Kannur blast, survivor now a doctor

K Asna, 24, lost her right leg as a six-year-old when a home-assembled bomb was hurled at their house by a group of RSS workers in the year 2000.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2018 18:05 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Kannur blast,Violence in Kannur,RSS-CPIM violence in Kannur
Bomb blast attack survivor, K Asna, at a function against violence in Kannur.(HT Photo)

The political violence that plagues Kerala’s Kannur blew her world apart 18 years ago but a determined K Asna didn’t give in and last week she graduated from a medical college, with distinction.

The 24-year-old newly minted doctor, who lost a leg in the crude bomb attack, has a lot to celebrate as she begins her residency at the Kozhikode medical college hospital. But, Kannur continues to rankle.

“My dream is fulfilled. The pain made me strong and determined but I am sad that bloodshed continues in my district,” Asna said on Sunday.

She recently visited the mother and sisters of Youth Congress activist Shuhaib who was hacked to death by an alleged group of Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists in February.

“Women and children are worst affected by these recurring clashes,” she said.

In the last two years, 10 people have died and more than 200 clashes -- mostly between Left and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh supporters -- reported from the north Kerala district, as the RSS looks to make inroad in the Left bastion.

The violence doesn’t let her forget.

HT Photo

It was the year 2000. Six-year-old Asna was playing with her young brother, Anand, in front of their home in Poovathur village when a home-assembled bomb was hurled at their house by a group of RSS workers.

She remembers an unbearable pain as her right leg was blown off.

The next few weeks were a blur – hospital, doctors and lots of pain. She came back from hospital after three months with a prosthetic limb.

Her father, K Nanu, who came from a Congress family, had some tiff with the local RSS leaders, which had led to the bomb attack.

As her family didn’t have the means, the district Congress committee funded her treatment and education.

Still it was a back-breaking effort. Her father was forced to close down his small tea shop, as he had to carry her to school and back every day.

When she joined the Kozhikode college for MBBS, some Congress leaders informed the then chief minister CM Oommen Chandy about the difficulty Asna faced in getting to her third-floor classrooms. Chandy sanctioned a lift for the building.

In 2008, 13 RSS and BJP workers were held guilty for the bomb attack. One of them, PK Pradeepan, was killed as he was assembling a bomb. Another convict, A Ashokan, is out on bail and has switched sides to the ruling CPI(M).

“I really struggled to come up in life. At times my amputated leg bleeds inside the prosthesis. My only prayer is that nobody faces such a fate,” she said

Seeking an end to the “mindless violence”, Asna said she was willing for any initiative that would put an end to the bitterness. “I want to wipe off tears.”

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 14:38 IST