RAJAHMUNDRY: It was the longest wait of their lives for B Kameswara Rao, P Veerabrahmam and other family members from Srikakulam. First, outside the pushkar ghat for their turn to take holy dip in Godavari and next, outside the Rajahmundry Government General Hospital to obtain the bodies of four of their family members who died in the tragic stampede.
A 14-member group comprising three families set off from Srikakulam district on Saturday. After spending Monday visiting local temples, they arrived at the pushkar ghat on Tuesday and waited for their turn.
“We came to the pushkar ghat at around 6 am but the police closed the gate as the chief minister was taking a holy bath. Soon after he left, a policeman opened the gate and a stampede ensued,” recalled B Kameswara Rao who lost his 12-year-old son Prashanth Kumar in the stampede. He also lost his mother-in-law Kalavathi and sisters-in-law Nagalakshmi and Amaravathi.
As the wait for the post-mortem of the bodies of his family turned out to be a gruelling affair, he questioned the need for it. “We asked them to hand over the bodies but the officials said the formalities have to be completed to claim the bodies,” he added.
P Nalini, who is a resident of Rajahmundry, rushed to the government hospital after watching the news channels flashing reports of the stampede. “My relative P Rajeswari and her family came to visit us on Monday. While her daughter stayed back with us at home, Rajeswari went to take the dip in Godavari. As they did not respond to my calls, we rushed here,” she said. Her worst fears came true after finding Rajeswari’s body among the deceased at the mortuary.