8 drowns during ‘Karma Puja’ dive, CM Hemant Soren expresses shock

8 drowns during ‘Karma Puja’ dive, CM Hemant Soren expresses shock

Eight people, including seven girls, drowned in two places in the Latehar district of Jharkhand on Saturday during the ‘Karma Puja’ festivities, a senior official said. The incidents occurred in Bukru village below Shregada and another Shibla Panchayat village in the district when they had gone to a pond to dive after Karma Puja, a major festival in Jharkhand, Deputy Commissioner Abu Imran said. The district’s Deputy Commissioner for Development, Shekhar Verma, was asked to carry out an investigation into the drowning of the seven girls between the ages of 12 and 20 in Bukru, Imran said.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren expressed shock at the incident. “Shocked to learn of the death of seven girls due to drowning during the immersion of ‘Karam Dali’ (branch of the Karam tree) in Sheregada of Latehar district. May God grant peace to the deceased souls and give strength to the grieving families to bear the loss, “Soren said in a tweet.

Palamu Range Commissioner Jatashankar Choudhary said the incident occurred during the ‘Karam dali’ dive and that the bodies of the girls, who drowned while trying to save each other, were sent to the Latehar District Hospital. As soon as news of the tragedy spread, the festivities gave way to mourning, and the wailing of anguished family members could be heard in many houses outside which sullen crowds gathered. According to officials, a group of 10 girls from the village had gone to the pond with ‘Karam Dali’ to submerge when two of them began to drown and screamed for help. In an effort to save each other, seven of them drowned in the deep pond while three other girls are in treatment. Authorities said that after hearing their desperate cries, villagers rushed to rescue them.

“Four girls were killed instantly, while three others breathed their last on the way to Balumath CHC,” they said. District officials also rushed to the scene. Among the 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) daughter of Fifa Ganjhu, Basanti Kumari (12) daughter of Laldeo Ganjhu and Suraj (10) son of Yashwant Vishwakarma. Meanwhile, agitated villagers in Bukru blocked the Balumath-Chatra Road-National Highway 98, claiming that the incident occurred due to the expansion of the pond for excavation.

The blockade was only able to be lifted late at night after a senior official assured them compensation of 4 lakh rupees each for the families of the seven girls. Karma is an important festival in Jharkhand related to the worship of Mother Nature and is celebrated with great enthusiasm, mainly by tribes.

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