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Four-month-old survives Satara stampede
Vijay Singh in Pune |
January 29, 2005 00:29 IST
Call it the hand of Providence. Four-month-old Pratham survived the deadly stampede at Mandhardevi temple in Wai, in Maharashtra's Satara district, even as his mother and grandparents were killed.
The incident on January 25 claimed the lives of 281 people, many of them women and children.
Pratham was Sarika and Satish's first child.
His aunt Ambika, his maternal grandparents, Bhuvan Gaiyakwad and Savita Gaiyakwad, and paternal grandmother Chandrakala reached the temple on Monday. Satish and his father were to join them on Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday, the Gaiyakwads decided to leave for Kalyan, a suburb of Mumbai, immediately after visiting the temple, which is located on a hill.
After the darshan, the group was standing in a queue to come down the hill through the narrow passageway from the temple.
Since the crowd was massive, Bhuvan Gaiyakwad decided to first escort his wife and daughter Sarika down, and then return to take Chandrakala and her daughter Ambika.
Chandrakala and Ambika managed to find a place in a corner of the temple premises to wait for Bhuvan to return.
A little later the chaos started. People started to run helter-skelter. Those standing in queues started to push others. Chandrakala and Ambika moved away to safety though they were also pushed by many.
After the situation was brought under control, Chandrakala started looking for her relatives, hoping they were safe.
She searched them till late in the night. But when she could not find them, Chandrakala returned to her residence at Pune at 0100 IST on Wednesday.
Satish rushed to the temple after he got the news of the stampede and didn't find them.
He believed they had left for Kalyan.
He contacted his in-laws' neighbours and friends in Kalyan, who told him they had not reached home.
On Wednesday morning, Satish and his father searched for his wife and in-laws in vain. His father then approached the police stating that his grandson was with the missing family members.
He was told that a baby was with the police. They were guided to Wai police station. The baby was Pratham!
Later, Satish found the bodies of his in-laws and wife in a hospital.
Satish said, "The police are not aware how my four-month-old son survived the stampede. They told us that someone had handed him over to them at 3 am (0300 IST)."
Though Pratham did not suffer any injury, he became ill after the incident. "The police told us that he kept crying till we found him."