Siar Baba accident could have been prevented

Siar Baba accident could have been prevented

‘Stones slip off the cliff twice prior to tragedy, admin didn’t issue dos and don’ts’

On July 15 (Sunday), a rock slipped off the cliff and fell on some people taking bath under the famous Siar Baba waterfall in the Reasi district.

Total 8 people died in the accident, five on the spot, two succumbed to injuries later in the day and one 50-year-old woman died on Tuesday.

According to locals, the accident could have been prevented had the administration learnt from previous experiences as stone shooting incidents had happened twice before the tragedy, which claimed 8 lives. The people claimed thaton Sunday, heavy rains lashed entire Reasi belt including Talwara, where the shrine is located, resulting in incidents of stone shooting at several places including Siar Baba Shrine.

“This shrine witnessed a massive landslide last year in the monsoon, when a huge portion of nearby mountain slipped and fell near the water pond. But, till date, not a single SDRF personnel was posted there. Even warning signboards were not fixed near the area prone to shooting stones,” SadhviChanchla, the caretaker of the shrine, said. 

She further said, “On Sunday morning also, when two stones fell into the water stream, fearing risk to human lives, I requested the local police not to allow anyone near the waterfall, but my requests fell on deaf ears.” 

SahilMengi, a native of Reasi town, who was at Siar Baba waterfall hours before the incident occurred, said, “I along with my friends was there at around 11am when some pebbles fell on us under the water fall. We immediately raised an alarm. As I remember, the local police made an announcement over the speaker, but the crowd didn’t listen to anyone.”

Ravi Kumar Sharma, who runs a grocery shop at around 200 meters distance from the shrine, claimed that if timely medicare was provided to injured, few lives could have been saved.

He said that the injured patients were not provided the stretchers and beds at the emergency ward of the district hospital. 

“Most of the paramedical staff deployed for first aid, including suturing of wounds, was untrained,” he added.