Sterlite Issue: Among victims, a social worker who mentored kids

Twenty-two-year-old Ranjith Kumar was a blood donor and was popular in the community for his initiative towards organising blood donation camps in the port city. The youngster, who had saved many lives, was killed in a mindless bloodshed, as the police personnel opened fire at the restive protesters.
Representative Image
Representative Image


Having completed his diploma in electrical engineering, the youngster was helping his father Baskar, a building contractor, in his business. Fond of sports, he had developed an interest in boxing during his school days and was known for his prowess in the boxing ring. 
Bhaskar revealed that his son was not only a state-level boxer, but also was a mentor – encouraging youngsters in the neighbourhood engaged in the sport. 
“Ranjith had just started coaching children. He was thrilled when his protégé, eight-year-old Shanmugavel completed a 30km race within 2.35 hours. His friends always knew him as a person who helped others and a boxing coach,” recalled the heartbroken father. 
In Pushpa Nagar, his locality, Ranjith was known as a blood donor and a socially conscious youth who organised blood donation camps regularly, as a member of Bharath Madha Blood Donation Organisation. His efforts were appreciated by the organisation, which had chosen to honour him with an award for his initiative of organising the most number of blood donation camps in Thoothukudi on June 14, World Blood Donation Day. He was also a member of Vizhai Pookal, an NGO in the city. 
An inconsolable Baskar said that he had no idea that his son was participating in the protest. “Ranjith hadn’t participated in the protest earlier. But on that fateful day, he had gone along with his friends to express solidarity and stand with the residents against the polluting copper smelter. Ranjith was someone who brought about change, working hard for the betterment of people.”
Even while struggling to make sense of the shocking loss they suffered, Ranjith’s family are still brave enough to be able to look at the larger picture. “Our only satisfaction is that the government had ordered the closure of the copper plant,” said the father. 

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