Five people drowned after a boat capsized in the town of Beldanga in Murshidabad district during Durga Puja idol immersion on Monday evening. According to sources, the idol was from the puja organised by Beldanga’s Hazra family.
“Prima facie, two country boats were carrying more people than their capacity. A boatman lost balance and the boat capsized in the Dumni water body,” said an official. All those who died were Beldanga residents.
Sources said the moment people joined hands to immerse the idol in the local river, the entire weight of the boat shifted to one side and it capsized. The boat was almost in the middle of the river when the accident occurred.
“Many fell off the boat, a few jumped out of fear too. However, five who were unable to swim got drowned while the rest managed to survive,” said an official.
Four of the bodies were fished out on Monday, while one was recovered on Tuesday. The victims were identified as Rohan Pal (23), Anindita Bandopadhyay (23), Sukhendu Dey (22), Rubai Hazra Bandopadhyay (20) and Nippon Hazra Bandopadhyay (35).
Local people accused the police and the civic body of not making proper arrangements for the idol immersion process.
“All were drunk and although I alerted them about the danger, no one paid heed to my warnings,” said a boatman, who did not want to be identified.
A low-key immersion of idols on Monday marked the end of the almost week-long Durga Puja in the state.
“No immersion procession was allowed at the ghats, and only one or two members of Durga Puja committees were allowed to go to the river. Then how did such an incident take place? It must be investigated,” said Beldanga resident Ramadas.
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