Mauni Amavasya brings 3 crore people to Sangam
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With the crowd getting thicker by the minute, the police changed traffic plans several times, throwing the devotees into massive confusion. The policemen said that they had to keep the crowd moving, even if it meant putting them through a couple of extra rounds to reach Sangam.
Describing the stampede-like situation on Kali Marg, Shubham — a vermillion seller — said: "Nobody dared to bend to retrieve their slippers, lest they might have suffocated." Abandoned slippers could be seen in hundreds on the Parade Road, Kali Marg, Triveni Marg and even near Sangam.
While the devotees did not seem to mind losing their slippers, it was the apprehension of getting separated from their family members which made them adopt various ways to prevent it. The most popular method was having a flag for a group. A piece of cloth, towels, saris, dhotis, vests, gamchchas, polythene bags and even an utensil pinned to a piece of bamboo —- anything could qualify as a flag. Other methods to prevent separation included tying each other with a rope in a series and women holding each other's saris or shawls.
However, whether it helped was a different matter. The total number of people who had approached the lost and found camps since last evening had crossed 30,000 by afternoon. The only announcements from the public address systems were that of people having separated from their family members.
For some, the entire affair seemed to have been a culture shock. Gautam Tiwari of Sangam Vihar in New Delhi asked: "Is there a place, where I can keep my luggage, like a cloak room? Can I get some conveyance to reach Sangam?" Having lost his way on Parade Road, just before Triveni Bandh, and tired of carrying all the luggage, he soon realised his questions were pointless.