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‘Rahul & Priyanka Showed Compassion’: Journo Injured in Wayanad

Rickson Oommen suffered injuries while covering Rahul Gandhi’s nomination filing process in Wayanad on 4 April.

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(On 4 April, some journalists in Wayanad, Kerala, sustained injuries after a fall while covering a roadshow by Congress leaders. This is the account of one of those journalists.)

You might be thinking where I was for the last two days. I’m still in pain. But I feel that I shouldn’t delay making this post any more. I have a broken bone on my right palm, and an injury to my shoulder blade. I reached Thiruvananthapuram from Wayanad today morning (Saturday, 6 April).

I received several calls after the reports of the accident got aired. My sincere gratitude to all the love and concern you shared for me.

Among the callers, some wanted to know about 'the shoe incident,' some sniffed at the accident and asked whether my fall was real, while some others wanted to know my politics.

Not only am I political but I also have a history of working with a political party. But it never got intertwined with my professional life yet, and I have no intentions to do so in future either.

Several troll posts are being circulated over the Wayanad accident. However, it's a matter of their politics and livelihood and I am least bothered about it. But I felt like sharing what I have seen and experienced.

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Caught in the Melee

We reached Wayanad by Tuesday night (2 April) to cover Rahul Gandhi's visit to submit his nomination. I had a hectic schedule on the first day and I went live in front of the collectorate office right from the first bulletin.

Later, I entered a mini-tempo van arranged for media by 11 am. The vehicle was too crowded, yet I squeezed in hoping it would ensure a better possibility for good visuals and piece to camera.

Volunteers grabbed onto the sides of the vehicle to clear the path for it through the huge crowd that had gathered. As we proceeded, I moved towards the iron barricades affixed on the sides of the vehicle and tried to go live. However, it didn't work due to the mobile jammers.

Expect for the discomfort when the vehicle went over speed bumps, the journey was rather fine, I have to say. Soon after the roadshow got over, our vehicle entered the ground first.

As it took a sharp turn, the passengers fell on to one side of the vehicle and those on the sides grabbed on to the barricades further, causing it to snap. I was sitting on the top of it and fell face first hitting my chest and right palm on the floor.

The vehicle was still moving and more people fell over me.

Rickson Oommen suffered injuries while covering Rahul Gandhi’s nomination filing process in Wayanad on 4 April.
Priyanka Gandhi removes an unconscious Rickson Oommen’s shoes.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter@OommenRickson)

Rahul and Priyanka to the Rescue

My body went numb after the fall. Soon, Priyanka and Rahul came along with others to pull us out. Now that I think about it, their presence helped speed up the rescue work. If they hadn't got involved, there might have been delays in moving us to the hospital through that massive crowd.

Priyanka removed my shoes and unfastened the buttons of my shirt to ensure better air circulation. You can define her actions the way you want, but for me it was an effective first aid measure.

Later, in a video, I saw her holding my shoes in her hand. Mere knowledge of first aid is not enough for such a considerate act. It needs a compassionate mindset too. From my experience, I learned that Priyanka and Rahul are not short of compassion.

It’s the quality of a leader. They didn’t have to bother about us and could have simply given a direction to their supporters to take care of us and returned to their chopper.

But they didn't. The attitude that they showed indicates their humanity, care, kindness and leadership qualities.

Oh, and there is absolutely no need to label me as a Congress supporter for saying all this.

  • All of us should/must get trained to give first aid in the hour of need.
  • When you move an injured person to hospital, bear in mind to send their belonging along safely.

(My heartfelt thanks to all those who stood with me, those who worried about me, and to my organisation – India Ahead❤❤)

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(Rickson Oommen is the Kerala bureau chief of India Ahead. This blog was first published on Facebook and has been republished with permission.)

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