Awards
A video of Shanmugavel and his wife, Sentharamai, from Tirunelveli, showed the couple bravely fighting off armed intruders with plastic chairs and slippers.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Thursday presented special bravery award to an elderly couple from Tirunelveli district, who recently fought armed robbers with plastic chairs and slippers, on Independence Day. 

Palaniswami awarded the couple -- Shanmugavel and his wife Senthamarai -- with Rs 2 lakh in cash and gold medals for their exemplary act of bravery in chasing away two robbers who had attacked them with machetes at their home.

Their act of bravery was recorded in a CCTV camera. As per the visuals, an armed robber first tried to strangulate Shanmugavel. While he was trying to free himself, Senthamarai, who was inside the house, came out and started attacking the assailants by hurling slippers, stools, chairs at them.

Meanwhile, Shanmugavel freed himself and also started attacking the robbers. Seeing the couple fighting bravely, the two robbers ran away.

Shanmugavel had earlier spoken to TNM, and said that the couple was prepared to handle intruders at their home, which is a farmhouse located at the edge of the village, very close to the forest.

“It is a five-acre land and we have been here for 40 years. We were acutely aware of the fact that we were susceptible to attacks from robbers because our house was isolated from the rest of the village," he says. "When I was getting strangled, I immediately began to make loud noises to get my wife's attention. I knew it didn't have to make sense. It just had to bring her to the entrance," he had said. 

Senthamarai meanwhile, told TNM that she was able to react immediately to the attack because she loved her husband. “How can I bear to watch when someone is hurting him?" she questioned. 

Other awardees, apart from the couple, included ISRO Chairman K Sivan, whom the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister felicitated with the APJ Abdul Kalam award. Sivan will receive the award at a later date as he was not present on Thursday. 

The award is for contribution to scientific development, students’ welfare and humanities.

The Kalpana Chawla award for courage was presented to P Ramyalakshmi, Assistant Director, Fisheries, Cuddalore. The award consists of Rs 5 lakh cash and a medal.

(With IANS inputs)