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What led to dance of death during Chhath Puja in Bihar?
Who is responsible for this tragedy? Why was police force not deployed at the vulnerable places for the safety of the devotees? Why were the narrow lane and a defectively built makeshift bamboo bridge highlighted in the media as attractive and facilitatative?

HELP HELP! Bachao! Bachao! These were the common screams of Chhath devotees at the Adalatganj Ghat (Old Mahendru Ghat), Patna on cruel Monday evening. There is a series of reasons, which were responsible for this horrible blood curdling incident at the bank of river Ganga on the eve of mega festival of Bihar and  Uttar Pradesh –“Chhath”. Here the holy river Ganga flows away from the ghat. There is a stinking sewage on which Pontoon bridge and two makeshift bridges were built.

According to eyewitnesses, breaking of the Chachari pul (makeshift bamboo bridge) of New Mahendru Ghat, rumour of snapping of live electricity wire on the Pantoon bridge (Pipa Pul) at  Adalatganj Ghat, switching off of lights for eight  minutes, movement of crowd of thousands of    devotees towards Pantoon bridge (Pipa Pul) at Adalatganj Ghat from Old Mahendru Ghat (it is 200   metre away), stampede from Pantoon Bridge to narrow and encroached 6 feet Adalatganj Lane,   lack of police forces, doctors for first aid and volunteers from the Ganga ghat to Adalatganj Lane, absence of ambulances near Bankipur Post office and absence of senior doctors in the emergency ward of Indira Gandhi Hriday Rog Sansthan (PMCH), Patna that led to death dance.

There was a heavy and mad rush from the Pantoon Bridge to narrow and encroached Adalatganj Lane. Hundreds of children, fasting women and men were trampled under the mad mob in the dark  night of Monday. Hundreds of Bamboo baskets and  plates of Chhath Prasad were thrown on  the  falling kids, women, men, and  young devotees in the narrow and encroached spiral Adalatganj Lane. There was no one to guide the unfortunate victims at the ghat. Some local brave residents saved the lives of dozens of children and women victims from claws of death.

It’s a matter of shame that some anti-social elements of local colonies snatched gold and silver jewelries, mobile phones, purses, wallets and other valuables from the suffocating and crying devotees in the narrow and encroached Adalatganj Lane. Amazingly Pirbahor Police Station is near   the Adalatganj Lane. According to official record total number of  dead was  21. But it may be more. According to eyewitnesses, nearly 45 people got injured in this accident.

Chhath is the only ancient festival of Hindus, which doesn't require any priest’s rituals or mantras. It is a four-day festival, which requires only purity and 36-hour fasting for the worship of the Living  God Lord Surya (Sun) and Chhathi Maiya. Married woman observe this festival for the health, wealth, children, prosperity and happy married life.

RJD Chief Laloo Prasad Yadav has demanded judicial investigation for the justice to the victims of this tragedy while state government has announced compensation for the victims.

But the question remains. Who is responsible for this tragedy? What is the correct number of dead and injured victims of this horrible tragedy? Why was police force not deployed at the vulnerable places for the safety of the devotees? Why were the narrow lane and a defectively built makeshift  bamboo bridge highlighted in the media as attractive and facilitatative? Why was a spiral narrow and encroached Adalatganj Lane allowed to be used by such a huge number of devotees? Why was  administrative arrangement for such an important festival so inadequate? Why did government not employed volunteers to prevent any unwarranted situations? Why was this ghat not properly checked by the local police?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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