Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday won the hearts of many a grieving and angry fishing folk in Vizhinjam area with her down-to-earth behaviour and compassion when she met them as more than 80 fishermen from the area continue to be missing in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi.
There was applause all around after she finished her meeting with the fisherfolk.
This was in sharp contrast to the hostility Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had to contend with on Sunday night when he had to face the ire of the same fisherfolk. It came to a point when the police and security forces had to escort the Chief Minister out, to his cabinet colleague's waiting vehicle which took him to safety.
The anger against Vijayan was that despite being in the state capital, he did not turn up to be with the grieving families and he came only after five days after the cyclone struck.
On Monday morning Sitharaman, while addressing the emotionally charged fisher folk community in Vizhinjam, told them that "today is not the time when we should find faults, instead we should all work together to see that we bring back those who have not yet returned".
Speaking in Tamil, she told the packed gathering that what happened in the sea was a phenomenon that none has ever seen and experienced and the need of the hour is for all to work together to bring back those who have not yet returned.
She assured the grieving community that the search will continue till they bring back the last of the missing fisherman.
"Please let us not be angry, it will not help. So we will all keep aside our anger and see that the last missing person is brought back. The rescue operations currently on is even better than what happened here when the tsunami struck," said Sitharaman and assured that all their demands would be looked into and action taken to see that adequate compensation is disbursed.
At the end of the meeting, there was clapping from the grieving fisher folks.
Later she went to Poonthura area where the coastal hamlet was waiting for their near and dear ones to return and had a meeting with the Church authorities and then told the huge gathering of the fishing community, which initially were in an angry mood, but soon turned calm and gave her a patient hearing.
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