Pragas Gnanapragasam, a 26-year-old Tamil journalist from Jaffna, passed away due to coronavirus earlier today.
Pragas, a native of Kodikamam, was an independent journalist writing for magazines and newspapers in the North-East. He also contributed to the Tamil Guardian, as a correspondent based in the North-East, sending updates from the Tamil homeland.
His death comes just one day after he publicly tweeted about contracting the coronavirus. Despite being a muscular dystrophy patient, he remained unvaccinated. Pragas was reportedly told by officials that he was not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
i tested positive for Covid 19 today after five days fever. now health normally good. I muscular dystrophy patient but so far not vaccinated me.
— Pragas Gnanapragasam (@PragasGnanam) September 1, 2021
In June, Pragas highlighted that vaccinations had not been prioritised for muscular dystrophy patients despite being disproportionately vulnerable to coronavirus.
"No studies have been done yet on vaccinating muscular dystrophy patients in our country [...] Seems to ask if the government forgotten muscular dystrophy patients completely?" he wrote.
My fb article now in Twitter with English pic.twitter.com/ZymOd3rhpH
— Pragas Gnanapragasam ✍ (@PragasGnanam) June 6, 2021
Earlier today, Pragas had updated his Facebook profile, telling friends that though he still had a cough fever and headache, “my work will continue uninterrupted after recovery”.
Pragas was awarded the Raviraj Memorial Award in recognition of the contribution to the society for Integration Activities Through Social Media in 2019. “
"I bow to all those who have supported me in that way, including my parents who have been committed to me, for those who have recommended me for this award and the late "Mamanidhar" Raviraj,” he said at the time.
He will be fondly remembered by colleagues across the North-East and at the Tamil Guardian.