3 Rizvi College pupils, 1 Siddharth College student drown in Khalapur reservoir | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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3 Rizvi College pupils, 1 Siddharth College student drown in Khalapur reservoir

Jun 22, 2024 07:16 PM IST

At around 2.30pm, 18-year-old Eklavya Singh, a resident of Nalasopara, drowned in the waters, prompting three other students to jump in to try and to save him

Navi Mumbai: Four college students from Mumbai who were part of a large group that had gone for a trek to Sondai fort in Raigad district died on Friday afternoon after they drowned in a reservoir at Khalapur. Three of the deceased were students of Rizvi College in Bandra while the fourth was pursuing law from Siddharth College in Fort.

All the four bodies were retrieved with the help of a disaster management team
All the four bodies were retrieved with the help of a disaster management team

According to the police, the group comprising 22 boys and 15 girls began the trek to the fort on Friday morning and reached the summit by 10am. After descending at around 1.30pm, they decided to take a dip in the Dhavari river reservoir. At around 2.30pm, 18-year-old Eklavya Singh, a resident of Nalasopara, drowned in the waters, prompting three other students to jump in to try and to save him – they included Ishant Dinesh Yadav, 19, from Khar; Akash Dharmadas Mane, 26, from Colaba; and Ranat Madhu Banda, 18, from Virar.

“All the four deceased failed to estimate the depth of the water and drowned in the process. A rescue operation was undertaken, and all the four bodies were retrieved with the help of a disaster management team,” said a police officer who was present at the spot. The bodies were subsequently taken to the rural hospital in Khalapur, where they were declared dead.

Parents of the deceased students said they had claimed the trip was organised by the National Cadet Corps (NCC), of which they were members. “My son was associated with the NCC for the past two years. We allowed him to go on the trip only because he claimed it was organised by the NCC and was compulsory,” said Eklavya Singh’s father Umesh Singh.

Ranat Banda’s father Madhu Banda too said he allowed his son to go on the trip only because he had claimed it was organised by the NCC. “My son, who was studying science, told me about the trip last month. I was not keen on sending him, but he insisted, saying it was being conducted by the NCC. I have no idea who planned the trip,” he said.

Sagar Mane, elder brother of the deceased Akash Mane, said their family was on trip to Alibag when they received a call from the police asking them to report to Khalapur as the group with which his brother was travelling had met with some accident. “Sagar was studying law and was staying separately,” he said.

The police, however, said that the trip appeared to have been organised by the students themselves, with most participants enrolled in Rizvi College. “The preliminary probe indicates a WhatsApp group was formed to plan the trip as most of the participants were from the same college and were also part of the NCC,” said senior police inspector Milind Khopde.

A spokesperson for the NCC clarified that none of the activities conducted by the corps is unsupervised and that it had nothing in the works for Rizvi College on June 21. “No NCC organised training activity was planned or conducted on June 21 for Rizvi College in the area of Khalapur,” the spokesperon said. “All NCC activities are organised under supervision of NCC officials from the college and NCC unit. The only centralised NCC-related activity conducted on June 21 was the International Day of Yoga session planned and conducted for NCC at DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai. The activity ended by 9.30 am and all cadets safely returned to their institutions/home.”

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