|Sitala ghat on Wednesday
Lucknow, Dec. 11: The toll in the Varanasi blast went up to two today after a 45-year-old pilgrim from Madhya Pradesh died in the intensive care unit of Banaras Hindu Universitys medical college hospital.
Phoolmani Tiwari was sitting 10 metres from where the bomb went off during Tuesdays evening aarti at Sitala Ghat. She suffered head injuries.
Rajendra Prasad Shastri, a priest at the adjacent Dashashwamedh Ghat, said Phoolmani and four others had come from Jerat village in Damoh district on a pilgrimage.
They reached here on the morning of December 6 and offered prayers at Kashi Vishwanath temple. On December 7, they had come to Sitala Ghat to watch the evening aarti, he said.
Phoolmani was among three injured admitted to the hospitals intensive care unit. The other two patients are responding to treatment, doctors said.
Phoolmani, a pilgrim from Madhya Pradesh, died around 7.30am today at the ICU of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) hospital, R.P. Singh, inspector-general, Varanasi range, said.
Her companions, one of whom was also injured, have returned home to their village near Jabalpur.
Phoolmanis three brothers and son Santosh had reached Varanasi two days ago. My mother had come here to offer prayers and seek salvation, Santosh said.
The Varanasi district administration has granted immediate relief of Rs 50,000 to relatives of the dead.
Shastri said Phoolmani would be cremated at Manikarnika Ghat, a symbol of creation and destruction that is marked in the ancient scriptures as part of Panch Tirtha. It is believed that taking a bath in five ghats in Varanasi, of which Manikarnika is one, in a certain order in one day can help a pilgrim achieve salvation. This ghat is a few hundred metres from the blast site. A cremation point, the ghat is also chosen by pilgrims for worship as legend has it that Vishnu had dug the Manikarnika Kund which is older than the Ganga.
Phoolmani is the second person to die in the blast. A two-year-old child, Swastika Sharma, had died on Tuesday night.
Thirty-seven people were injured, of whom 12 are still under treatment.