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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Police recover bodies of five missing after performing Mahalaya rituals in Hooghly river

A section of local residents blamed the police for the five deaths, alleging there was neither surveillance nor an alert about the high tide, which came at the time of the tarpan rituals

Subhashis Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 16.10.23, 09:07 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Police recovered five bodies on Sunday morning, around 24 hours after seven persons performing tarpan rituals on Mahalaya morning were swept away by a high tide in the Hooghly river from the BB Street Ghat of Uttarpara.

A joint team of the NDRF and civil defence spotted the five bodies near the Bally Bridge early on Sunday after a rigorous nightlong search operation. Chandernagore commissioner Amit P. Javalgi monitored the operation.

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Following identification by the families, the five bodies were sent to the Serampore Walsh Hospital for autopsy.

Deputy commissioner (Serampore) Arvind Kumar Anand said: “The rescue team first spotted three bodies near the Bally Bridge early on Sunday morning. Two more bodies recovered later in the day.”

On Saturday morning, a high tide swept away at least seven persons. Two were rescued by local people while five remained missing.

Police began a search operation late on Saturday morning, causing an outburst from family members and local residents who put up a road blockade alleging administrative apathy. Later, the families lodged missing complaints with Uttarpara police, which eventually compelled the district administration to begin the nightlong search operation.

A section of local residents blamed the police for the five deaths, alleging there was neither surveillance nor an alert about the high tide, which came at the time of the tarpan rituals.

“A few thousand people had gathered along a long stretch of the Hooghly river. But there was no police surveillance. They bothered to take up surveillance only after the high tide swept away seven persons,” said Kishan Prasad, a local resident.

Hooghly district’s BJP leadership also echoed these allegations.

“The police were aware of the time of the tidal wave but did not bother to alert the people (on Mahalaya). They also began the search operation much later,” claimed local BJP leader Pankaj Roy.

The Trinamul leadership rubbished the allegation, claiming every precautionary step had been taken by the administration.

“This was an accident. This outcome (the deaths of five of the seven missing persons) could not have been anticipated,” said Uttarpara civic chairman Dilip Yadav.

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