Mauni Amavasya brings 3 crore people to Sangam
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2 students among 4 dead; lost and found camps swamped
Be it the call of faith; seeking divine blessings; witnessing the world's greatest religious event; or performing pind dan for his ancestors — there were numerous reasons for around three crore people who arrived at Sangam to take a holy dip on the second and the most auspicious 'shahi snan' on Mauni Amavasya on Sunday.
The administration claimed that by noon around two crore people had taken bath, while the numbers were likely to reach around three crore by evening. With people still reaching Sangam in large groups in the evening, the numbers were likely to rise further.
Meanwhile, two students, Anurag Verma of Shravasti district and Sachin Mishra of Allahabad, both friends, drowned near Naraini Ashram ghat. Two other persons died under the Ganga Prasar police station area of Kumbh. While there were reports that the deaths occurred due to a stampede-like situation, the administration claimed that one death was natural. The cause of the second death was being examined, said Commissioner of Allahabad Division Devesh Chaturvedi.
Massive security paraphernalia had been put in place, involving around 30,000 police personnel. Army and administration's helicopters carried out constant surveillance of the Mela area throughout the day.
The day began early with the akharas taking the first dip around 6.15 a.m. — almost an hour after the scheduled start. The shahi snan went peacefully, barring a couple of boats of the Jal police getting overturned as enthusiastic naga sadhus of Juna akhara jumped over them to go beyond the barricaded point in water. However, nobody was injured.
While no VIPs are allowed on Mauni Amavasya, several vehicles with blue or red beacons could be seen moving even on those roads where motorcycles were also banned. "These were vehicles mostly from the akharas. Sometimes, we had to allow them," said a policeman at Kali Marg.