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Narmada boat capsize: Bodies of two more children found, toll seven

The Nandurbar police on Wednesday registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the private boat owner, Vasant Pawara, who was operating the motor boat when it capsized.

A DAY after a boat capsized in Narmada river at Nandurbar, the State Disaster Relief Force on Wednesday found the bodies of two missing children, cousins Simran Pawara (4) and Monica Pawara (4). With this, six children, between the age of 4 and 12 years, and a senior citizen have died in the accident.

The boat, with a capacity of 30, was carrying 45 people from a tribal family of Telkhedi village in Dhadgaon block for a religious ritual in Narmada to mark Makar Sankranti on Tuesday afternoon.

The two bodies were found at the spot where the boat capsized. “Since it’s the backwaters, the children were not carried away by the current. The search operation was difficult during the night,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Chandrakant Gawli.

The Nandurbar police on Wednesday registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the private boat owner, Vasant Pawara, who was operating the motor boat when it capsized. When the entire boat turned upside down minutes after setting sail, Pawara managed to swim to shore.

Local residents said that Bharat Pawara had a mannat (wish) for his children and wanted his entire family to accompany him to the river. Forty-five members of his family had set sail in the boat, paying Rs 30 per passenger.

Minutes later, the entire vessel capsized. District officials said the family wanted to navigate a kilometre into the river to offer prayers.

Bharat lost both his children, Bhupendra (4) and Laxmi (4), and mother-in-law Manu Pawara (60). Four other children — Tulsi Ratilal Pawara (5), Geeta Pawara (12), Simran Pawara (4) and Monica Pawara (4) — who died are the children of Bharat’s cousins.

The deceased could not swim. By the time other local tribals swam into the river, used ropes to turn the boat over, and started pulling out those trapped, they had drowned. The locals and disaster relief force rescued 37 people, including one person who swam into the water to rescue those trapped inside boat.

District Health Officer Dr Nitin Bodke said eight persons continue to remain hospitalised. “Six of them are in rural hospital, while the others are in civil hospital. All of them are stable.”

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