Four DU students drown in Yamuna during Ganesh immersion
New Delhi: Four persons drowned in the Yamuna in outer Delhi’s Alipur during Ganesh idol immersion Thursday evening. All four were residents of Delhi’s Nihal Vihar and were students of Delhi University (DU).
Police said the incident took place around 9pm when a total of eight persons had entered the Yamuna to bathe, despite being told not to go into the river owing to lack of light and depth of water. While four of them came out, four did not. A rescue operation was initiated by teams of fire department, civil defence, disaster management services and local divers, the police said.
While two bodies were retrieved late in the night, two bodies were recovered from the nearby Palla Bakhtawarpur village Friday morning. Police identified the four as Umesh Yadav (20), Priyanka (20), Pinki Shah (21) and Nikit (21).
Deputy commissioner of police (outer north) Gaurav Sharma said the police control room received a call around 9pm that four persons had drowned in the Yamuna near in Alipur. A man who saw them drowning also alerted the fire control room.
Police said they have informed the family members of the four.
During the enquiry, it was learnt that a group of 30 devotees from Nihal Vihar had come to Yamuna Ghat near thokar number 17 in Alipur to immerse the idols, a police officer said. Since idol immersion is banned in that part of the river, the police turned away the procession to an artificial pond dug up some distance away for immersing the idols.
The officer said while other devotees proceeded towards the pond, eight of them stayed back and insisted on taking a bath in the river. “They were stopped at Shani Mandir and Bakhtawarpur, and advised by civil defence and police staff to avoid bathing in the river,” DCP Sharma said, adding that the group initially agreed but eventually eight of them entered the river.
Police said they were informed that the eight who were bathing on the banks of the Yamuna had ventured into deeper waters. Four of them managed to swim to safety, realising that the river water was dirty and its bed was filled with sludge. They called out to the other four but there was no response. The four panicked and alerted a passerby, who saw the four persons drowning and called the police and fire control room.
The family members of Pinky Shah said she was going to celebrate her birthday today and was excited about it. Her father, Sanjay, works with a private company. He told the police that she had gone for immersing the idol with friends after informing her mother. Priyanka’s family told the police that they had told her not to enter the river while she was going to join the procession.
The bodies of the four were handed over to their families after autopsy on Friday.