Kanwariyas burn truck in Haridwar district after pilgrim’s death in accident

The violence began to unfold after 11 pm when 12-year-old Deepak of Sonipat, Haryana was returning home with fellow pilgrims carrying Ganga water from Haridwar.
Kanwariyas take a dip in the river Ganga on the first day of holy month of Shravan, at Vindhyachal dham in Mirzapur.(PTI Photo)
Kanwariyas take a dip in the river Ganga on the first day of holy month of Shravan, at Vindhyachal dham in Mirzapur.(PTI Photo)
Published on Aug 02, 2018 02:11 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Haridwar | BySandeep Rawat

The Kanwar pilgrimage turned violent Wednesday night with angry kanwariyas burning down a truck and blocking a road after the vehicle knocked down a young kanwariya killing him on the spot in Bahadrabad block of Haridwar district.

The violence began to unfold after 11 pm when 12-year-old Deepak of Sonipat, Haryana was returning home with fellow pilgrims carrying Ganga water from Haridwar. He was passing through Daulatpur village in Bahadrabad when the truck hit him from behind.

Other pilgrims caught hold of the truck driver and beat him up, set the truck on fire and blocked the road. Tension rose further when other kanwariyas arrived at the spot.

As tempers ran high among the pilgrims, Senior Superintendent of Police Krishan Kumar VK and Kanwar Mela force nodal in-charge Mamta Vohra arrived with heavy police personnel to maintain peace.

Authorities also dispatched the Rapid Action Force and Indo Tibetan Border Police to control the kanwariyas whose number had risen sharply.

Police immediately took the dead body in their possession before sending it for postmortem at Roorkee Civil hospital.

An estimated million kanwariyas were in Haridwar at that time and as news of the boy’s death spread, the situation turned volatile, sparking clashes with the police at several places.

Local villagers tried to calm down the kanwariyas, while a squad of kanwar force personnel who were disguised as kanwariyas, also pitched in to pacify the pilgrims.

SSP Krishan Kumar VK remained at the accident site till late into the night to restore order. “The situation was brought under control and kanwariyas resumed their pilgrimage,” he said.

Kanwar mela force in-charge Mamta Vohra told HT that a case has been registered in Bahadrabad police station against the truck driver Sachin, resident of Bamanwala in Haridwar district.

“Heavy commercial vehicles are being monitored on the stretch of the road that the pilgrims are using to prevent any further accidents,” she said.

From Thursday, the entry of heavy vehicles on the national highway passing through Haridwar will be prohibited as part of a route diversion plan in view of the anticipated rush of pilgrims.

Volunteers of Shiv Parvati Sheeshwal Dham Shiv Kanwd Sewa Samiti Mandi Adampur (Hissar), who are holding a free mass food service (bhandara) for kanwariyas urged kanwariyas to cooperate with mela police administration.

The pilgrimage which began on July 28 will conclude on August 10.

Another pilgrim from Sonipat, 62-year-old Dharamveer died on Thursday after reportedly vomiting blood, police said. He was on the pilgrimage with his niece Neetu.

Rodibelwala police post in-charge Abhinav Sharma said Dharamveer had been ill for a long time. His body will be handed over to his relatives after postmortem.

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