Parents of Liju Lawrence who died after an explosion on board INS Sindhurakshak in August last year
The mishap on board submarine INS Sindhuratna
, off the coast of Mumbai on Wednesday, has reminded several families of their worst nightmare.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Vimala Lawrence, in her 40s, and her husband had lost their son and the family's sole breadwinner after an explosion on submarine INS Sindhurakshak in August last year. It was considered as the Indian Navy's worst disaster.
The body of their son was buried just a stone's throw away from their house. The shining memorial stone stands in sharp contrast to the grim reality of their lives.
Liju's parents say they could not even see their son for the last time as his coffin arrived at home.
"Minister has to resign... We gave our smartest son to them, why is he dead," said his mother, sobbing uncontrollably, as she wiped the dust off her son's photographs.
There were 18 Navy personnel on board Sindhurakshak, including three officers. Till now, only 11 bodies have been found and the vessel has not yet been salvaged.
In Assam's Lakhimpur district, there is no end to the agony of Narrutam Deuir's parents. They had raised their eldest son to be a marine engineer despite severe financial hurdles and were happy to see him serve the country. But after Narrutam's death in August on board INS Sindhurakshak, his father was forced to work as a daily wage labourer in the evening, apart from tilling his farm during the day, to make ends meet. His younger brother is still in school.
"What happened yesterday is a repeat but shouldn't happen to anybody else. The government needs to answer why it is happening again and again," said Narrutam's mother B Deuri.
With the process to salvage INS Sindhurakshak still underway, it will be a while before the families get their answers and closure.