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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Shock, panic and grief: How a trip led to death of 11 youths at Amer

Eleven people were dead and more than 10 others injured in the incident, a video of which was widely circulated shortly after a thunderstorm hit Jaipur on Sunday.

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Jaipur |
Updated: July 13, 2021 7:18:06 am
Shock, panic and grief: How a trip led to death of 11 youths at AmerSDRF team members conduct a search operation near Amer Fort in Jaipur, Monday. (Express photo b y Rohit Jain Paras)

“We tried calling them on their mobile phones but the call didn’t connect. When we finally got through, the boys were crying and said that one of their friends had died,” said Mohammed Imran, speaking from the trauma ward of the SMS Hospital, where his nephews are undergoing treatment — they were injured as lightning struck a watchtower twice near the Amer Fort on Sunday evening.

Eleven people were dead and more than 10 others injured in the incident, a video of which was widely circulated shortly after a thunderstorm hit Jaipur on Sunday.

In thunderstorms, 23 people lost their lives across Rajasthan while 27 were injured, Anand Kumar, Principal Secretary (Disaster Management and Civil Defence), said Monday.

As Imran’s family saw the video, their hearts sank as his three nephews had informed the family about their plans to visit the fort to enjoy the weather.

Standing outside the hospital’s mortuary, 50-year-old Mohammed Shamim’s voice broke as he waited for the body of his son, Mohammed Shoaib (18), who was among the 11 dead. “He had gone there with two of his friends…All three are dead,” said Shamim, who works in the bangle industry.

Mujahid Hussain, a relative of Shoaib, said he reached the watchtower as soon as he got a phone call. “Very few policemen were present. Some of the injured died in front of me. If help had come sooner, more people could have been saved,” he alleged.

However, Sumit Gupta, Additional DCP (Jaipur north), said, “The police reached promptly… A major challenge we faced during the rescue operation was the steep climb which we had to cross in the darkness. However, we carried on search operations till 3 am in the morning and safely brought the injured people down and evacuated the bodies.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has directed authorities to provide assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh to each injured in lightning strikes in seven districts, an official statement said. Gehlot said in a high-level meeting here that at present the amount of assistance payable to the injured under the Disaster Management Rules is inadequate.

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