A 17-year-old boy drowned in the holy sarovar (holy tank) of the Durgiana Mandir here on Thursday while taking a dip on the occasion of Chhat Puja .
The deceased was identified as Kanhaiya, son of a migrant labourer, Rajinder Parsad, a resident of Ajit Nagar in Verka.
Police sources said that the victim, along with three other youngsters and a few family members, was taking a dip in the sarovar when the tragedy occurred. Despite warnings by the Durgiana Mandir Committee, the youths swam too far from the banks of the sarovar. While three of the youths managed to swim back, Kanhaiya failed to make it and drowned.
As the Durgiana Mandir Committee did not have any expert divers, the body was fished out at 4pm, around eight hours after the tragedy happened. It was an agonising wait by the youth's father and other relatives for the body.
The family and relatives had even held a protest against the police and the Durgiana Mandir Committee over the delay in fishing out the body of the youth. First they staged a dharna outside the office of the temple management committee and then outside the Durgiana Mandir police post.
The cops were virtually clueless and acted as mute spectators when efforts for recovering the drowned body began. A pilgrim who had come to pay obeisance rang up the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) sports department which brought swimming coach Pawan Kumar and a swimmer, Manpreet Singh, to the shrine.
The two, along with Nirmal Singh, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) employee, and Dalbir Singh, a resident of Harike, went about locating the body and diving down below, they traced it and brought it to the surface. It was a difficult task but in the end the four of them did succeed in fishing out the body, which was handed over to the victim's father.