In mourning, Varanasi ‘aarti’ sees only one lamp

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

VARANASI - Breaking with the tradition, only one earthen lamp was lit during Wednesday evening’s ‘maha aarti’ here to protest against the previous day’s bombing that killed a girl child and injured more than 30 people.

And in contrast to the many hundreds who flock to the Ganga ghats to watch scores of ‘diyas’ float on the water bed, only 200-300 people took part in the evening ritual, a local religious leader said.

“This was in protest against the bomb attack and the lack of security measures and to pay homage to the girl who died,” Kanayya Tripathi of the Ganga Seva Nidhi told IANS.

An explosive device concealed in a crevice in the cemented stairs leading to the Ganga exploded Tuesday evening when hundreds were taking part in the colourful ‘maha aarti’, causing panic and stampede.

While some people suffered multiple injuries in the deafening blast, several were injured as they fell over one another while trying to escape from the scene. The collapse of a wall added to the misery.

Tripathi said that those at the ‘aarti’ Wednesday were mostly drawn from local temples. There were hardly any of the usual devotees.

“Today’s function was held amid tight security,” he said. “In contrast to the daily routine, it lasted less than 10 minutes. Usually it goes on for around 40 minutes.”

Filed under: Terrorism

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