Brothers Hemant Roy and Vasudev Roy live in Arazi Shikarpur Battali village under Panchagarh’s Boda Upazila. Seven members of their family were on a boat on September 25 – going to the other side of the Karatoya river to perform Mahalaya rituals. Five of them were among the victims who drowned in the Karatoya when the boat sank.
“I have lost everything… my wife, my brother’s wife, three grandchildren. I am numb. We’re not in a state to celebrate Durga Puja,” a distraught Hemant Roy said.
Not only Hemant and Vasudev, grief has gripped several other families in Boda, Debiganj, Atwari and Sadar upazilas of the district who have lost their near and dear ones in the boat capsize that claimed 69 lives.
The tragedy occurred on the day of Mahalaya – the auspicious occasion heralding the arrival of Goddess Durga – on September 25, when an overloaded boat carrying around 80 people, mostly Hindu devotees, sank in the middle of Karatoya river while heading towards Badheshwar Temple.
So far, 69 bodies have been recovered while three still remain missing.
This is the worst waterway accident Bangladesh witnessed after the devastating fire on a Barguna-bound launch, off the coast of Jhalakathi, on December 24 last year, in which 50 lives were lost.
The Hindu community in Panchagarh are observing Durga Puja without the usual festivities, mourning and honouring those who died in the boat capsize.
Panchagarh district units of Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad took the decision on Friday, said Puja Udjapan Parishad’s district president Jibodhan Bamman and general secretary Bipen Chandra Roy.