Four die in 'Chhath' festival in Bihar
Four persons including two minors died in two separate incidents during 'Chhath' festivities in Bihar, police said on Sunday.
Two women devotees, who observed the pious Chhath festival, died and four others injured when a portion of the wall of a Kali temple collapsed this morning at Badgaon village in Samastipur district, they said.
The wall collapsed at around 6.30 am, when devotees were preparing to leave the ghat after offering 'arghya', Hasanpur police station SHO Chandrakant Gauri said adding that the incident triggered panic among the people.
Around half a dozen women and the bodies of the deceased have been taken out of the rubble, SHO said.
The deceased have been identified as Lalli Devi and Buchi Devi, both aged between 40 and 50, and injured devotees have been admitted to Hasanpur primary health centre, he said.
In another incident, two children died during a stampede that took place near Suryakund at Deo block in Aurangabad district on Saturday evening.
The deceased have been identified as Baby (7), resident of Patna district and Prince Kumar (4) of Bhojpur, Aurangabad District Magistrate Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal said.
Police are investigating the incident and an ex-gratia will be paid to the next of kin of those killed as per norms, Mahiwal said.
Official sources, however, admitted that the stampede took place as the turnout at Deo's Surya temple for Chhath Puja was "beyond expectation" of the local administration.
Soni Devi, whose four-year-old son died in the incident, said that she had come to celebrate 'Chhath' festival at Deo and the incident occurred when they were returning after observing the religious ritual.
However, the four-day long 'Chhath' festival ended on Sunday as lakhs of devotees thronged the banks of Ganga river and other water-bodies across the state this morning and offered 'arghya' to the rising sun god.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was accompanied by his ministers and senior officials, had on Saturday inspected ghats along the river on a steamer from Nasriganj to Gaighat and sought blessings of the 'vratees' for the welfare of people and the state.
Kumar also extended his greetings to people on the occasion and prayed to the Sun god for the peace, prosperity and development of the state and the country.
The Patna district administration heaved a sigh of relief as the Chhath Puja, which began on October 31 and revered as the most pious festival of Bihar, passed off peacefully with no untoward incidents reported so far from the state capital.
Apart from elaborate security arrangements including the installation of CCTV cameras and watch tower by the district administration at the 101 ghats of the Ganga and other water bodies in Patna, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were also posted with boats and other equipment for rescue, the officials said.
Municipal authorities too had made elaborate arrangements to spruce up ghats across the city and roads leading to ghats.