The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal toll rises

Nashik, Aug. 28: Two more persons from Calcutta were reported dead from the stampede at Kumbh Mela yesterday.

Their names are Kesharidevi Surekha, 65, and Sundermal Surekha, 70. Their bodies were lying unclaimed at the Civil Hospital in Nashik till late afternoon. There were some others from Calcutta who were injured, but most of them have been discharged from the Civil Hospital and the Indira Gandhi Hospital, where the victims were admitted.

The rest of the 10,000 pilgrims from Bengal have been assumed to be safe. There were no casualties among the hundreds of devotees from Bengal staying at the Chatur Sampradaya Akhada or the Iskcon camp at Tapovan, where the sadhus are staying. Many groups of Bengali pilgrims, who are staying as paying guests for the few days of the Mela with Nashik residents, also were found to be safe.

Most of the victims are from Rajashtan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Civil Hospital made separate lists for patients from these states. The majority of them is very poor. Many of them donít know how they will get back.

Shaitan Singh from Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, admitted in the male ward at the Civil Hospital, said he didnít know how many days he would have to stay back, as he was badly hurt in the stomach. He was worried because he had no money.

Govind Prasad Sharma, whose wife and sister-in-law were also admitted in the same hospital, said he didnít know how he would get back to Bhopal. They had finished their bath and had wrongly turned into the lane that was a one-way and the stampede happened. He and his relatives lost all their luggage and belongings. ďAll I have is this,Ē he said, showing a solitary 10-rupee note in his purse.

In the male surgical and trauma-treatment wards, there were 16 patients, while there were 37 patients in the female surgical and trauma-treatment wards. Till late afternoon, 11 of the 33 dead were yet to be identified.

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