Kaushalya can’t hold back her tears. It has been over 24 hours since the 30-year-old woman lost her mother Sugiya Devi, 62, in the Rajghat bridge stampede on Saturday that claimed 25 lives.
“My mother and I were walking in a row with other followers of Jai Gurudev on the bridge. All of a sudden, there was a rumour about bridge collapse. It led to panic and people started running helter-skelter. My mother and several other people fell on the bridge. Those who were running trampled them,” she said.
Kaushalya and her mother, resident of Revati town in Ballia, was among the thousands who had come to Varanasi to attend a religious congregation at Domri village across the Ganga in Chandauli.
“I also fell on the bridge but managed to get up and started looking for my mother. Initially, she was nowhere to be seen. I took a few steps forward. It was then that I saw her lying on the bridge. She was dead by then,” Kaushalya recalled.
She said many other people also lay dead there. In the meantime, her brother Vibhuti and Piyush reached the spot. Soon, a few police personnel sent her mother’s body to the Chandauli district hospital.
The post-mortem was carried out at night. Thereafter, the family performed the last rites in Varanasi.
She said before they left Ballia, her other family members had been concerned about the huge crowd coming for the event but Sugiya had turned down their request to stay home.
Sugiya, who was a regular at the satsangs of spiritual leader the late Jai Gurudev in 2005, said that if she died in the event, she would attain salvation.