Three Nepalese students have lost their lives in coastal South India as resources that would have been deployed to save their lives remained occupied in Ganesh Visarjan, the mass immersion of Lord Ganesha’s idols.
Reports said nine Nepalese youths from Aditya Institute of Technology and Management (AITAM) at Tekkali went for a swim at Bhavanapadu beach in the state of Andhra Pradesh but only six returned to their college, only to report that three of their friends had gone missing in the sea.
Media identified the victims as Rajkumar Giri and Subhik Patel (both 21 years of age) who were second year engineering students while the third victim, 20 year old Vivek Gupta, was in his first year. They along with six other students were at the beach to enjoy their weekend. The tragedy occurred when they were ‘playing in the waters’ and high tides pulled the three into the ocean.
The body of Rajkumar Giri later washed up at the local beach while, it is understood, search for the other two is still on.
“The officials failed to carry out the search and rescue operations immediately as majority of the expert swimmers, marine police personnel and boats were engaged in Ganesh immersion activities,” New Indian Express reported.
Ganesh immersion, or Visarjan as it is known in Hindi, is a mass religious rite in India demanding huge life-saving security details as millions proceed to running water to immerse idols of Lord Ganesha following an extended puja, or prayers. Even Bollywood celebrities, from across religious faiths such as Salman Khan dancing in this picture, regularly join the public in celebrating the festival.
The beach where the incident occurred is located roughly 30 kilometers from the college of the Nepalese students.