As the five-day-long Durga Puja festival came to a close on Wednesday, the distressing news of deaths during the idol immersion (visarjan) was reported from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In West Bengal’s Jailpaiguri, seven people died and several were feared missing after flash floods hit the Mal River during Goddess Durga idol visarjan. The incident occurred around 9.15pm when several devotees gathered on the banks. “We rescued around 60 people, and 15 of them have been hospitalised. Initially, two bodies were recovered but five more were found later,” Jalpaiguri district magistrate Moumita Godara Basu told the local media at around 11pm.

The flash flood in the Mal river is being attributed to heavy rainfall that the state has been receiving this week. According to the Met department’s forecast, the state will again receive heavy rain this weekend (on Oct 8 and 9).

In Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, a 15-year-old boy and two youths aged 19 and 22 drowned in the Yamuna river during Durga idol immersion. No one was found in the rescue operation carried out till late evening, news agency ANI reported citing officials.

In Rajasthan’s Ajmer district, a similar tragic incident occurred on Wednesday where six people drowned in a ditch filled with rainwater during the immersion of a Goddess Durga idol. All six bodies were recovered during a rescue operation, and will be handed over to family members after autopsy, news agencies reported. “The ditch where the incident occurred is often used for idol immersion by locals often,” Ajmer Superintendent of Police Chuna Ram Jat told PTI. The deceased thought it was a shallow ditch and went down, but it was deep and they all drowned,” he informed.

Similar incidents were also reported during the Ganesh visarjan that took place on September 9. At least 20 lives were lost across Maharashtra, and eight people died in Haryana.

The pandemic-induced restrictions had curtailed the celebration in the last two years. Free from those restrictions, the festival was celebrated with great pomp and show this year.

(With PTI and ANI inputs)

By Shadab

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