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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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CIMA Gallary

Shock and anger after loss of kin

Roshan Sao is alone in the world. He is so lonely that there is no one to wipe his tears.

Till Monday evening, the 40-year-old transport contractor had a family comprising wife Sanju Devi, 35, son Karan, 11, and one-year-old daughter Nandini. But he lost all of them during the stampede at Adalat Ghat, where 14 other devotees also died.

“There is no one to even share my sorrow,” he said.

While weeping, the resident of Bengali Tola said: “I had gone with my family to Daldali to celebrate Chhath at my grandmother’s home. While returning, we went to Adalat Ghat to perform the rituals. There was a mad rush and I lost Sanju and the children.”

When the situation was finally brought under control after an hour, he and his relatives looked high and low but could not find the missing woman and children.

“Someone advised me to go to PMCH (Patna Medical College and Hospital) where the injured had been taken,” he said.

When Sao reached the PMCH, he looked in all the wards where the injured had been admitted. “Then a paramedical official told me that some bodies were lying under the staircase. I rushed to it and found my wife and children,” he said.

“They were dead.”

Sao was given a compensation of Rs 6 lakh by the district administration on Tuesday. But the bereaved man was disconsolate.

“The administration is responsible for my loss,” he cried. “Why weren’t there enough policemen to control the crowds? Why weren’t enough precautionary measures taken?”

Such questions will continue to haunt all who lost near and dear ones in the tragedy on Monday evening.

Six-year-old Tushar and his three-year-old sister Vaishnavi wondered where their mother Usha Hore was while playing at their flat in Vighyan Madhavi Nikentan apartment in the Langartoli area.

They were unaware that they would never see Usha again. Her body was taken to the burning ghat on Tuesday morning.

Usha is one of the victims of the stampede of Chhath devotees near Adalat Ghat on Monday. Ironically, she was not performing any of the rituals. She had gone to the ghat to watch others pray.

Her sister-in-law Ankita said: “My brother, Achinta, had taken Usha and their two children to the ghat. When the stampede began, Usha and Tushar got lost. Achinta came home thinking his wife and son would also have reached. But she had not come home. He went out again and found Tushar at Pirbahore police station. But there was still no sign of Usha. Finally, Achinta found her body at the PMCH around 7.45pm.”

The family is in a state of utter shock. So is the family of four-year-old Kittu Kumari, who perished in the tragedy on Monday.

Her parents, Alok Kumar and Maya Devi, had come from Ara, around 50km west of Patna, to celebrate Chhath. They put up at Maya’s mother’s house.

Maya, who kept crying, said: “We found her after the stampede and rushed her to the PMCH. But there was no doctor to attend to her. She was unconscious but breathing when we reached the hospital. She would have survived if a doctor had taken care of her. But she died in my lap.”