Indian farmer who fasted for Trump’s recovery dies

Bussa Krishna Raju.
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Updated 13 October 2020

Indian farmer who fasted for Trump’s recovery dies

  • The village of Konne, in the Jangaon district of southern Telangana state, has been mourning his death

NEW DELHI: An Indian farmer who died after fasting for US President Donald Trump’s recovery is being mourned by his village.

Bussa Krishna Raju, who changed his name to Trump Kriss in honor of his idol, had been abstaining from food and drink following news of Trump’s coronavirus infection.

He broke his fast on Saturday upon learning that the president was better, only to collapse the following day while drinking tea. 

The village of Konne, in the Jangaon district of southern Telangana state, has been mourning his death.

“The death of Trump Kriss is news in this area,” local journalist Veera Gaud told Arab News. “He used to worship Trump and, because of his devotion to the US leader, he changed his name to Trump Kriss from Bussa Krishna Raju.”

Raju was 32 when he died. His relatives said it was a cardiac arrest.

“He was so disturbed for five days that he stopped eating,” Bukka Vijay Kumar, Raju’s cousin, told Arab News. “He came out of his room only when he heard that Trump had recovered. However, he collapsed when he was having tea in the morning. Raju did not have any medical history. We believe that he died from exhaustion caused by the fast.”

But a normal body could resist hunger for 30 days, according to Noida-based pulmonologist Dr. Loveleen Mangla. “He might have died because of any underlying cardiac cause,” Mangla told Arab News. “It must have been there for a long time, and no one had seen it.”

Raju’s journey to becoming Trump Kriss started in 2016, after Trump’s election victory.

The story goes that, one day around four years ago, Trump came into Raju’s dreams and the farmer decided to worship the US leader. He even erected a statue of him. 

“He spent INR200,000 ($3,000) to build the statue and he would worship him,” his cousin Bussa Sanjay Kumar told Arab News. 

Konne village has a population of 3,000 people and a literacy rate of less than 50 percent. It is located nearly 100 km away from the state capital, Hyderabad. Most Konne residents had not heard of Raju until a few years ago when he changed his name.

“Soon after he changed his name to Trump Kriss, people in the area started calling him by this name,” Sanjay said, adding that Raju had been pinning his hopes on the US president winning November’s election.

Raju even set out to meet Trump during his visit to India earlier this year, village chief Venkat Verumalla Gaur said.

“Raju went to the Hyderabad consulate and requested them to fix a meeting with the US president, but that never happened and he was sad,” Gaur told Arab News.

On Sunday night villagers held a candlelit march to express their sorrow over Raju’s death.

“Konne village and the surrounding areas are in a state of mourning at the loss of our Trump,” Konne resident Srinivas Reddy told Arab News.

Gaur echoed this sentiment.

“Sadly, we lost our Trump,” he said. “He brought national attention to our village.”


Iranian man arrested over deaths of family in English Channel

Updated 31 October 2020

Iranian man arrested over deaths of family in English Channel

  • He faces manslaughter charges after migrant couple and two of their children drowned when the boat they were in capsized

LONDON: An Iranian man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the deaths of four members of an Iranian-Kurdish family in the English Channel.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammed Panahi, 35, and their children Anita, 9, and Armin, 6, drowned on Tuesday after the boat they were in capsized as they attempted to cross the Channel from France.

Their 15-month-old son, Artin, and two people are still missing. An official from the French coastguard said there is no hope of finding any more survivors, after a search-and-rescue operation in “unfavorable” conditions was called off on Tuesday night.

The Iranian suspect was allegedly piloting the semi-rigid vessel, which was carrying 22 people from the Grande-Synthe migrant camp near Dunkirk, according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Dunkirk prosecutor Sebastien Pieve said the man was arrested after survivors who were taken to hospital gave statements to police.

“He told us he was just a migrant but the information we have gathered against him, notably from 13 others who were interviewed, suggests that he is close to the smugglers and his claims do not stand up,” Pieve said.

The man, who is in provisional custody, is under investigation and faces charges of involuntary homicide, endangering the lives of other people, helping “illegals” as part of an organized gang, and criminal association, according to reports. If convicted, he could be jailed for up to 10 years and be deported from France after serving his sentence.

Pieve said an aim of the police inquiries is to dismantle the smuggling ring responsible for the people being on the vessel.

A growing number of migrants are attempting risky journeys across the Channel in small, dangerous vessels provided by smugglers because of a reduction in the number of commercial sea crossings between the UK and France as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 7,400 migrants have crossed the Channel so far this year, compared with about 1,800 during the whole of 2019, according to Press Association calculations.