Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Chief Minister Hemant Soren and BJP state president Deepak Prakash expressed grief over the incident on Saturday.
In a tweet by the PMO, the Prime Minister said, “Shocked by the death of youth due to drowning in Latehar district. Jharkhand. Condolences to the bereaved families in this hour of grief.”
Balumath circle officer Aftab Alam said three of the victims, Rekha (18), Reena (11) and Lakshmi (8), are sisters and daughters of Aklu Ganju. The four other deceased have been identified as Charan Ganju’s daughter Sushma Kumari (7); Meena (8), daughter of Laldev Ganjhu; Jagan Ganjhu’s daughter Pinky Kumari (15) and Late Bifa Ganju’s daughter Sunita Kumari (17).
The girls had gone for the immersion of the branches of the Karam tree in the pond early in the morning for worship. Locals said that all the seven drowned one after the other as soon as they stepped into the pond. It being morning, there was no one around to help them immediately.
Later, some boys saw them and ran for help, but five girls had already died, while two were pulled out in an unconscious state. “The two were taken to Balumath Community Health Center along with five others, but doctors declared them brought dead,” Alam said.
The circle officer also said that the bodies were sent to Sadar Hospital for post-mortem after the consent of their parents.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Abu Imran has directed Latehar Civil Surgeon Dr HC Mahto to constitute a three-member medical board to conduct the postmortem, after which the panel comprising Akhilesh Prasad, AK Orya and Hari Om Prasad was constituted.
Expressing grief over the incident, Soren tweeted, “Shocked at the drowning and death of seven girls in Latehar. May they rest in peace and may the family members have strength to bear the pain…”
Expressing grief, BJP state president Deepak Prakash urged the state government to announce compensation for the bereaved family. “The Hemant Soren government should announce an ex-gratia of at least Rs 10 lakh for the next of kin of the victims,” he said.
Watch shocking! 7 minor girls drowned during karma puja in jharkhand