Thousands attend cremation of lake tragedy victims; Punjab government announces Rs 1 lakh relief for kin
Bodies of the seven victims of the Gobind Sagar lake tragedy in Una were brought to Banur on Tuesday, where thousands of people bid them adieu. Six of the victims drowned to death in an attempt to rescue Shiva (15), who had entered the lake first.
The bodies were cremated at the committee cremation ground, Banur, where the pyres were lit simultaneously. The victims are Pawan Kumar (35), Raman Kumar (19), Lal Singh (18), Shiva (15), Lakhvir Singh (16), Arun Kumar (14), and Vishal (18).
Two of the victims, Arun Kumar and Lakhvir Singh, were siblings. “The father of Arun and Lakhvir, Lal Chand, has been bedridden for the last one year due to multiple fractures in his leg and unsuccessful operation. Their mother is a homemaker. The two were born after three sisters, who are all married. They were students. Lal Singh was brought to the cremation ground with the help of other people,” Ramesh Kumar, a distant relative, said.
Ravi, elder brother of one of the victims, Vishal (18) said, “Vishal was a waiter working at private parties and marriages. He was the second among us three brothers. My father, Rajkumar, and mother, Sikko, clean utensils at roadside dhabas. We are a poor family. He was one of the earning hands in our family. He along with others had left the house around 6 am on Monday. We received information about the tragedy around 5 pm.”
Pawan Kumar, Raman Kumar, Lal Singh were from one family.
Shiva, whose real name was Bhupinder Singh, was the first who had entered the lake first, after which the others others stepped in to save him.
“Shiva was the only son of his parents, after they had two daughters. He is the son of my elder brother, Avtar Singh. Yesterday morning, he had told us that he was going to Naina Devi. His grandfather, Lal Singh, had cautioned him only to go to Naina Devi not anywhere else. But instead of going to Naina Devi shrine, they went somewhere else and later to the lake,” Krishan Kumar, victim’s uncle who brought the body from Una, said.
“Even my nephew, Sonu, was also among the 11 member group that had left the house stating that they were going to Naina Devi. Instead of going to Naina Devi, they went to Baba Garib Nath shrine and Baba Balak Nath shrine,” Bhajan Singh, AAP councillor from Ward number-11, Lalru, said. Sonu, one of the members of the group, said, “We tried our best to save all of them but everything happened in a fraction of seconds. I threw a boat’s rope, one long cloth hoping they could catch it but it was too late.”
Politicians from all political parties attended the cremation.