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Maharashtra Sunstroke Deaths: Citizens Slam Govt for Insensitivity, Lack of Arrangements

The Maharashtra Bhushan award event, attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, was held in the open, leading to 12 deaths and hundreds hospitalised.

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Mumbai: The death of more than 10 persons at the Maharashtra Bhushan award event in Kharghar has evoked strong reactions from a cross-section of Mumbaikars, who on Monday said the state government should have organised it in the evening considering the stifling April heat or should have erected temporary roofs for shade.

Twelve people have died due to sunstroke and other health complications after the award ceremony was held in the open on Sunday morning at the sprawling International Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai, which was attended by several lakh people, most of them followers of awardee Appasaheb Dharmadhikari.

Mumbai's summer has become unbearable and it is tough to sit in the open for five minutes, but here people were made to sit for hours without shade, which was a massive mistake that proved costly, Andheri resident Gurucharan Malhotra said.

"On one hand, the government is talking about a rise in COVID-19 cases and is urging people to wear masks. On the other hand, the government itself goes ahead and organises an event at such a massive scale without adequate arrangements," Malhotra pointed out.

Labour union leader Shrirang Barge said the state government would have known Dharmadhikari has a massive following and that the event would have attracted several lakh people, so why were arrangements for water, shade etc missing.

A doctor who did not wish to be named said it was very insensitive of dignitaries, including ministers and bureaucrats, to sit on the dais or the front rows, which were covered, while letting lakhs of people get distressed by the unbearable heat.

"They should have held the function in the evening. While it may vary from person to person, most people sitting in such heat for one to two hours may suffer sunstroke. In sunstroke, the water level in the body goes down along with blood glucose, sodium electrolyte and disruption in other chemicals," the doctor said.

A heat stroke can prove fatal in case of senior citizens, children and persons with comorbidities, he added.

Several people took to social media to vent their anger at the Maharashtra government for the deaths.

"A nation's HM, a state CM, Dy-CM, a social worker & all their offices put together could not foresee the hot weather and summer season, missed the signs of heatwave across the country and make basic arrangements for their people, then how do I trust them to run my state & nation!,” tweeted netizen Akansha Mahapatra.

Netizen Saiyed Raavi Abbas, a criminal lawyer and researcher as per his Twitter bio, said giving away compensation after such deaths was no justice and sought that the organisers be jailed for negligence.

Another Twitter user said "there is no need to investigate, the entire responsibility for what happened during the MaharashtraBhushan event lies with @CMOMaharashtra @mieknathshinde @Dev_Fadnavis for poor planning and lack of arrangements knowing the weather conditions".

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