September 19, 2017 6:20:39 am
Two followers, working at jailed self-styled godman Rampal’s ashram in Mundka, suffocated to death after they entered a sewer located outside the main gate on Monday evening, police said. Police identified the men as Makhan Lal (27) and Amarjeet (30). The two were rushed to Cygnus Sonia hospital in Nangloi, where doctors declared them brought dead. Another devotee, Mukesh (23), was injured trying to save them. The hospital staff told The Indian Express that the three men were brought in around 4 pm. Two were declared brought dead as they had “sustained severe brain injuries due to suffocation”.
“The three victims had suffered hypoxic brain injury. The third person is critical. He has been put on ventilator and is currently in ICU,” hospital staff said. The bodies have been shifted to Sanjay Gandhi hospital mortuary for post-mortem and will be handed over to the families later. Police said they got to know about the incident after a PCR call was made at 3.30 pm. A team was deputed to the ashram, but the injured had already been taken out of the sewer and rushed to the hospital in two private vehicles.
Abhishek Das, a devotee at the ashram for the past two years, was busy with work when he heard that Makhan Lal had lost consciousness. “There were around 200 devotees in the ashram at the time. Some of them were preparing food inside the canteen while others like me were involved in bhakti. Around 15 of us rushed to the sewer to save them,” Das said. Two devotees tried to enter the sewer, but collapsed due to “lack of oxygen” in five minutes. Eyewitnesses said sanitation work was usually undertaken by devotees every few days. “There was no water inside the sewer, just some grime and muck which had to be cleaned,” Das said.
However, DCP (outer) Pankaj Singh said the men died “due to choking from toxic gases”. Around four-five devotees tried to enter the sewer but started to feel dizzy, after which they got some ropes from inside the ashram, tied it around the three men and pulled them out. The operation took 15 minutes.
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Police said that prima facie investigation suggests “the three men entered the sewer without safety gear”. “We have registered a case under IPC Section 304 (a) (causing death by negligence). We will also look into negligence on part of ashram authorities,” said a senior police officer.
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