Months after Naushad’s death, his father-in-law thinks a job would be his daughter’s lifeline.
Seven months after Naushad died trying to rescue two labourers from a manhole in Kozhikode district, his wife remains shattered, unable to continue the gruelling task of living each day. Pained by this, her father has been trying to remind the government to fulfil its promise to give her a job.
Thirty-two-year-old Naushad, an auto driver from Malikkadavu, died of asphyxiation in November 2015 while trying to rescue two labourers who became unconscious in a manhole.
Under pressure from public outrage, the then chief minister Oommen Chandy made a number of promises, including ensuring that safety measures were followed. While a total compensation of Rs 10 lakh was released to Naushad’s wife and mother a month after his death, the job assured to the family has been forgotten.
Twenty-four-year-old Safreena has taken the loss of her husband very hard. “I am not sure whether I am ready to step out yet. I have never spoken to the media since I did not want to be in the picture at all,” she told The News Minute over the phone from her house in Thavangadu in Kozhikode district.
Safreena, a commerce graduate, married Naushad four years ago. The auto rickshaw he drove was purchased at a time the family was undergoing financial crisis. After his death, the family sold it to a close friend.
“Though the rickshaw was two years old, my husband used to take care of it so well that there used to be not a slight dust on the vehicle,” Safreena fondly recalls.
It has been difficult for Hamsakkoya to see his daughter like this. “Since Naushad passed away, she has been living within the four walls of our house. She does not leave the house even to meet her friends. I cannot see her spend her life like this. She is only 24,” says her father Hamsakkoya, a construction labourer.
He hopes that the job will spur her to engage with the outside world. “We do have financial troubles, but that’s not why I want her to get the job. I want her to go out and mingle with people.”
Hamsakkoya has approached ministers under the previous UDF government several times to follow up on the government job offer to his daughter, but was only met with assurances.
He raised the subject again a few months ago when ministers MK Muneer and MP Raghavan attended a public event to honour Naushad’s selfless act.
“When the organizers asked me to speak, I raised the matter. They (ministers) assured me later that they would look into the matter,” 59-year-old Hamsakkoya says.
Two months ago, transport minister AK Saseendran too sent for him on hearing about the delay, but Hamsakkoya says that the family has not heard from the government since.