3 died due to heat and exhaustion at a fair on Danda Mahotsav in Bengal


Two women and a man, all aged over 60, died allegedly due to heat and exhaustion on Sunday afternoon when the crowds swelled at a fair held on the occasion of Danda Mahotsav in the Panihati area of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, police said. Over 125 people fell ill and were rushed to hospital. Several medical camps were set up at the spot after the incident. The devotees had come from other districts as well, police officials said.

The fair was held to pay homage to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the 15th century Indian saint. Four temples, including one belonging to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), are located around the fair ground.

The administration asked the temples authorities to shut the gates. The fair was also suspended.

“Distressed to know of 3 old devotees’ death due to heat and humidity in Danda Mahotsav at ISKCON temple at Panihati. CP and DM have rushed, all help being provided. My condolences to the bereaved families, solidarity to devotees,” tweeted chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Local Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislators and Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy rushed to the fair ground.

“The fair was not held for three years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the turnout on Sunday was huge. All those who died were aged above 60. Many people fell ill because of excessive heat and humidity,” said TMC’s Panihati legislator Nirmal Ghosh.

“I am sure there was no police deployment at the fair. Will the chief minister take responsibility for these deaths?” Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said in Kolkata.

Calling Majumdar a “trainee state president” of his party, TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said: “He is making irresponsible statements. These people died of heat and exhaustion. There are many examples of pilgrims dying in stampede in BJP-run states.” Barrackpore police commissioner Manoj Verma rushed to the spot but did not talk to the media till the time this report was filed.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)