4 die of cold in Gan­gasagar fair, half a mil­lion to take holy dip

The Hitavada - - 2ND FRONTPAGE -

OVER half a mil­lion pil­grims are ex­pected to take the holy dip in the Ganga where it flows out into the Bay of Ben­gal on the oc­ca­sion of Makar Sankranti on Sun­day at the an­nual Gan­gasagar Fair, with the West Ben­gal Gov­ern­ment and other agen­cies mak­ing elab­o­rate ar­range­ments to en­sure peace and safety of the devo­tees.

District Mag­is­trate Y Rat­nakar Rao mean­while said four pil­grims, who had come for the holy dip, died due to se­vere cold in the Sa­gar is­land.

About 150 km from Kolkata in South 24 Par­ganas district, the Gan­gasagar is­land is con­sid­ered aus­pi­cious by the Hin­dus, who gather here on Makar Sankranti, for a holy dip and to pray by of­fer­ing co­conuts at the Kapil Muni tem­ple.

The de­vout be­lieve that a sin­gle dip in the sa­cred wa­ter washes off sins of one’s life­time. “We are ex­pect­ing over five lakh devo­tees this time. We have taken all mea­sures to en­sure peace and full safety of the peo­ple,” a district of­fi­cial said.

A num­ber of se­nior Min­is­ters of the State Gov­ern­ment have been camp­ing in the area, while snif­fer dogs were busy check­ing the beach at Sa­gar, while a large num­ber of po­lice per­son­nel are on duty.

With the gath­er­ing of pil­grims in­creas­ing ev­ery pass­ing mo­ment, the fair grounds looked splen­did in a riot of colours, with peo­ple speak­ing in a great va­ri­ety of lan­guages and wear­ing dif­fer­ent at­tire.

The monks and as­cetics were seen per­form­ing ‘ha­van’ and other Hindu rit­u­als, while a num­ber of re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions brought out ral­lies.

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