Yajna to Get Rid of Crash Victims' Ghosts
The Times of India News Service
PATNA: Residents of the Gardanibagh area here are holding a week-long yajna barely 100 metres from the site where the debris of the ill-fated Alliance Air Boeing 737 lies, following persistent rumours about the ghosts appearing and voices of the wailing people being heard. A stampede in a nearby girls' school resulted in serious injuries to three students following rumours that one of the students of the school had been possessed by the ghost of a plane crash victim.
Almost two months after the plane crashed killing about 55 passengers and five others residing in the area, the yajna is being organised by Jai Ram Yadav, a police constable posted as the bodyguard of the CM's brother and RJD MLC, Subhash Yadav. The residents of Gardanibagh refer to him as Jai Ram Baba, ignoring the fact that he is in the Bihar police force. Sadhus and priests of all shades and colours have gathered to participate in the Shri Bhagwan Saptahiki Mahayajna, which is being held under the auspices of the Mahashakti Sthal, Varanasi. It commenced on Monday and will conclude on September 18.
"Such an incident had never taken place here before, therefore the local people felt it necessary to hold the yajna. Yah yajna mrit atma ki shanti ke liye hai (This yajna will bring peace to the souls of the dead)," said Umashankar Tiwari, a resident of the area. Thirty-one ghailas (pitchers) of water from the Ganga were brought and kept at yajna site, where chanting of holy mantras goes on for four hours from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and the sadhus deliver religious discourses in the evening.
"There is a huge gathering in the evening to listen to the holy men. As many as 11 sadhus have arrived from Varanasi alone," stated Harendra Tiwari, another resident of the area. The yajna is being held under the overall supervision of Baba Ramakant Tiwari. "The 31 pitchers of Gangajal (Ganga water) will be scattered all over the area for bringing peace to the souls of the dead," said Baba Ramakant Tiwari.
The initial plan to hold the yajna near the crash site was met with a strong resistance from the Airports Authority of India officials on the ground that it might destroy the valuable evidence scattered in the area. "We had to take permission from the DM to perform the yajna," stated Bindeshwari Prasad. Incidentally, a banner put up in front of the yajna pandal says "DM ke adesh anusar", giving the impression that it is being held on the orders of the Patna DM. Only a plastic rope separates the yajna site from the debris of the plane.
The stories of ghosts and wailing voices linger on. "Autorickshaw drivers and rickshawpullers refused to go to the area after the crash took place," said Umashankar. He, however, conceded that he had slept in the open here for three nights and nothing happened. "Perhaps, after the yajna, the rumours regarding the ghosts of crash victims will finally be laid to rest," he added.
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