Ranchi, September 18: In a tragic incident, seven girls drowned in a pond while immersion of Karma tree branch at Bukru village in Balumath block of Latehar district on Saturday morning.
In Bukru village in Jharkhand’s Latehar district, seven girls aged between 12 and 20 years drowned in a pond amid Karma Puja festivities on Saturday, 18 September, a senior official said,.
Karma Puja is a major festival in the state of Jharkhand, and is mostly celebrated by tribal communities.
Deputy Commissioner Abu Imran said that girls had gone to immerse the Karma tree branch in the the pond after the festival, adding that the Deputy Development Commissioner of the district, Shekhar Verma has been asked to hold an inquiry in the matter along with a senior administrative officials comprising district mining official, district social welfare officer, child welfare committee official and SDO Latehar.
Taking to Twitter on Saturday, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said he was ‘shocked’ to hear about the tragedy.
He wrote in Hindi, “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.”
The girls’ bodies were sent to the Latehar district hospital, Jatashankar Choudhary, Commissioner from Palamu Range said.
As per officials, 10 girls had gone to the pond with ‘Karam Dali‘ for immersion, when two girls began drowning and cried out for help. While trying to save each other from from drowning, seven girls drowned in the deep end while three managed to survive and are currently under treatment.
Those who died included three sisters – Rekha Kumar, Reena Kumari, and Lakshmi Kumar – as well as Sushma Kumari, Pinky Kumari, Sunita Kumari, and Basanti Kumar. All seven went to local schools and colleges.
The villagers said, “Four girls died on the spot while three others breathed their last on way to Balumath community health centre.”
Villagers and district officials had reached the site of drowning after the commotion.
Further, a Latehar official said that help will be provided to the tragedy-stricken families, while Member of Parliament from Latehar, Sunil Singh expressed deep shock over the incident.
Meanwhile, villagers have blocked the Balumath-Chatra road – National Highway No 98, protesting over the incident. Officials said the situation was under control and they were trying to persuade the villagers to lift the blockade.
Former Chief Minister and National Vice President of BJP Raghubar Das condoled the Latehar incident. He said that the heart-wrenching incident of death of seven young girls due to drowning during Karma Dal immersion in Latehar is heart-wrenching. “I demand from the government that strict action should be taken against the culprits of negligence in this matter. Along with this, compensation and government assistance should be made available to the families of the deceased. May God give strength to the bereaved family to bear this loss in this hour of grief. I pray to God for the peace of the departed soul,” said Das