Combat force personnel near the Atreyee river as the rescue operation was being conducted on Monday. (Mithun Roy)
Balurghat, Aug. 4: Four boys, who had gone to offer prayers to Lord Shiva at Patiram Dham, drowned in the Atreyee river near the temple this morning while taking a dip.
Today, many devotees gathered at Patiram Dham, 12km from here, to bathe the idol of Lord Shiva there. As part of the ritual, those who want to offer prayers to the god take a bath in a river.
Sources said around 7.30am when many devotees were taking a dip in the Atreyee, two friends drowned. Soon, two others also drowned.
Local people and police started rescue operation and they were joined by civil defence department personnel. Around 1pm, three bodies were fished out and around 4pm another body was found.
The deceased are Kalyan Dutta Chaudhury, 18, his friend Partha Pratim Pal, 17 and Rupam Barman, 16, and Supriya Mohanta, 19. While Kalyan, Partha and Rupam were from Gangarampur, Supriya was from Laskarhat in Tapan.
Kalyan and Partha were friends and they had gone to Patiram with eight others. Both were Class XII students in Gangarampur High School.
“We told Kalyan not to go there. But he did not pay attention,” said Kabir Dutta Chaudhury, Kalyan’s uncle. Kalyan’s father Kishore is a businessman in Gangarampur.
Partha’s father Khokan Pal is the cashier at Harirampur block office. Rupam was a Class X student in Fulbari High School and his father is an assistant sub-inspector posted in North Dinajpur.
“I was waiting to take a dip when I heard screams. The river here is deep and two people drowned despite others trying to save them. Soon, two others also drowned,” said Jyotish Roy from Patiram.
Utpal Chatterjee, an officer at Balurghat police station, said: “The bodies were found. Three boys were from the Gangarampur area and one was from Tapan.”
Local people alleged lack of safety near the river. “Every year a lot of people come to the Atreyee river on Mondays in the Bengali month of Shraban. It is raining and the river is deep. But there is no safety arrangement or divers,” said Radhamadhab Chakrabarty from Gangarampur.