Separating relations, uniting humanity, photo essay by Sagnik Datta
Gangasagar is infamously known for it’s stampede due to overcrowding during ‘Makar Sankranti’ days. It is regarded as the second most largest fair in India considering the number of footfall, just lagging little behind ‘Kumbh Mela’. The number of pilgrims crossed 15 Lakhs this year.
Unfortunately, many people utilize this mass flock to get rid of the elder ones. This is a very sorry projection of our society , dating on 21st century. According to an unofficial report, the number of separation crossed 4,000 barrier 2017’s fair. There are several N.G.O’s and state government’s organization who worked hand in hand to safely reunite the separated families.
This year I accidentally bumped upon an activity of such another noble organization, named “Bajrang Parishad”. The organization had their setup installed just opposite to the Police Control of the fair ground. They arranged numerous social volunteers, who were spread across the entire fair area to help out the needy personnel. The USP of Bajrang Parishad is that they organize temporary shelter, food and medical attention for the separated person and they would send the lost person to his\her own home by their own expenses and responsibility if they have an authentic location coordinates.
As mentioned before, Bajrang Parishad organized square meals for the pilgrims who were in need. The cook of the kitchen had very little rest because he had huge responsibility to feed thousands of people.Bajrang Parishad arranged a large place where the shelter was put up for the needy people. The Ground was completely covered with straws to keep it warm, Shawl and proper bedding was also provided to the needy.Volunteers of ‘Indian Red Cross Society’ also extended their warm hand of help to the people in crisis. They collaborated with several ambulance service providers to reach people who need medical aid. Their prompt and swift work no wonder saved several lives. No matter how many organizations contributed in aiding people out there, still there is a huge gap to be filled to suffice all the needs of the pilgrims. Their noble work may have saved and reunited many families but still, faith of several other people remains uncertain.
Six aged women died due to suffocation while waiting in long queue to board a vessel at ‘Kochuberia’ after attending the holy dip in the sagar. They were found in unconscious state at the long queue and were immediately rushed to Kochuberia temporary hospital and later they were declared dead. The mad rush for the vessel also added to the chaotic situation at kochuberia. More than 36 people were injured in the stampede.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sadness over the loss of lives in the West Bengal stampede and sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured. He tweeted “Saddened by the loss of lives caused by a stampede in West Bengal. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased”.
He added “My prayers with those injured in the stampede in West Bengal. May they recover quickly”.
The injured have been admitted to Kakdweep Hospital and Diamond Harbour Sub-Divisional Hospital in Kolkata, which is 150 km from the famous Hindu pilgrim spot, according to Hindustan Times. The newspaper report also puts the number of casualties as seven, with six women and one child reported as dead even as official confirmation on the exact number of casualties is awaited
(by Sagnik Datta)