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Business News/ News / India/  Jharkhand: 8 drown in Latehar during 'Karma Puja' immersion; PM Modi, President Kovind express condolence

Eight people, including seven girls, drowned at two places in Jharkhand's Latehar district during 'Karma Puja' festivities on Saturday. The incidents took place at Bukru village under Sheregada panchayat in the district.

The deceased had gone to a pond for immersion after Karma Puja, a major festival in Jharkhand, Deputy Commissioner Abu Imran said.

The Deputy Development Commissioner of the district, Shekhar Verma has been asked to hold an inquiry into the drowning of the seven girls aged between 12 and 20 years at Bukru, Imran added.

A group of 10 girls from the village had gone to the pond with 'Karam Dali' for immersion when two of them started drowning and shouted for help. Villagers rushed to save them after hearing their cries, but could not save them all.

Palamu Range Commissioner Jatashankar Choudhary said the incident occured during immersion of the 'Karam dali' and the bodies of the girls, who drowned while trying to save each other, were sent to the Latehar district hospital. Three other girls are undergoing treatment.

“Four girls died on the spot while three others breathed their last on way to Balumath CHC," officials told PTI.

Among dead were three sisters Rekha Kumar (18), Reena Kumari (16) and Lakshmi Kumari (12), daughters of Aklu Ganjhu.

The others were identified as - Sushma Kumari (12) daughter of Charan Ganjhu, Pinky Kumari (18) daughter of Jagan Ganjhu, Sunita Kumari (20) daugher of Fifa Ganjhu, Basanti Kumari (12) daughter of Laldeo Ganjhu, and Suraj (10) son of Yashwant Vishwakarma.

Following the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed their condolences.

“Shocked by the loss of young lives due to drowning in Latehar district, Jharkhand. In this hour of sadness, condolences to the bereaved families," the PMO tweeted.

“I am deeply pained to hear the news of the death of many girls in a painful accident during Karam Dali immersion in Latehar, Jharkhand. In this hour of grief, I express my deepest condolences to the bereaved family members," President Kovind said in a tweet.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren also expressed shock over the incident.

"Shocked to hear about the death of seven girls due to drowning during 'Karam Dali' (branch of Karam tree) immersion at Sheregada of Latehar district. May God grant peace to the departed souls and give strength to the bereaved families to bear the loss," Soren said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, agitated villagers in Bukru blocked the Balumath-Chatra Road-National Highway 98, alleging that the incident occured due to widening of the pond for excavation.

The blockade could only be lifted late in the evening after a senior official assured them of a compensation of 4 lakh each for the families of the seven girls.

Karma is a major festival in Jharkhand related to worship of mother nature and is celebrated with great enthusiasm, mostly by tribals.

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Updated: 18 Sep 2021, 10:35 PM IST
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