Bihar’s human chain for de-addiction on Saturday might have set a record of sorts, but not without a cost.
At least two children reportedly died and over 70 others fainted or suffered injuries during the course of chain formation in different parts of Bihar.
One of the deceased, Divya, a Class 9 student at Jandaha in Vaishali, was crushed to death in a road mishap on Hajipur-Jandaha road, while going to participate in the human chain.
Another death was reported at Panisadra village in Baisi police station area of Purnia district when Salman, 10, died. His father Md Sabir claimed that the boy was participating in the human chain when he collapsed. Sub-divisional officer, Baisi, Sunil Kumar , however, said the child was ill and his death had nothing to do with his participation in the event.
In Nalanda, 13 students fell unconscious at Brijpur village of Noorsarai, 15 in Bhagalpur and 27 in Bettiah. Students of the Nirpur high school alleged that they had to walk 10 km to reach their designated spot at Brijpur village.
In Darbhanga, two girls of Gyan Bharti School fainted during the event.
In Motihari, five students fainted on national highway (NH) 28, while eight students fell unconscious in Bhabhua, as they were made to wait for long hours before the show began at 12.15pm.
There were also reports of four students falling ill in Ara, seven in Mairwa of Siwan, two in Muzaffarpur and three in Biharsharif.
Reports from Muzaffarpur said that eight persons, including five students were injured when an auto collided with a pickup van at Kuawahi chowk under Aurai police station. All the injured were returning home after participating in the human chain. They were sent to the Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital.
At Raxaul, three women, including Sapna, Phuleshwari Devi and Amlawati Devi were injured while returning from Laxmipur, while a dozen were injured at Dadhi village under Beldaur police station when an auto overturned.
At Goh in Aurangabad, four persons, including a school student, Guriya, were injured while going to participate in the human chain. Guriya, a Class 10 student, suffered fracture in her leg and was referred to the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College Hospital, Gaya.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar said, “Nobody could have ruled out such episodes since they were organised on such a huge scale, with our logistics stretched. They happen even on the Independence Day when 5-6 trained policemen faint every year. At least I have seen this since 2006,” he said.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said there was poor arrangement of ambulances to ferry the victims to health facilities. He alleged that the Patna high court directive had not been followed properly.
In response to a Patna high court query, seeking to know the reason behind the involvement of children in the human chain, the government had said that participation was voluntary and that all arrangements had been made so that no one was put to any hardship because of the event.
However, contrary to government claims, there was no ambulance to ferry those who fainted or were injured in it. Instead, most were taken to health facilities by their relatives or well-wishers on pushcart or cycle rickshaws.
(With inputs from Ajay Kumar, Prasant Ranjan, Prasun Kumar Mishra, Rajesh K Thakur and Sagar Suraj)