Lightning strikes killed at least 67 people across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on Sunday. Scattered rainfall was reported in parts of these states.
Sixteen people were killed when lightning struck them on a hill near the Amer Fort in Rajasthan’s Jaipur city, ANI reported, citing the police. The incident took place when people were taking selfies at a watch tower amid rain.
Jaipur Police Commissioner Anand Srivastava said that the police rescued 29 people with the help of local residents. Srivastava said that the injured were taken to the hospital. The toll is part of the rescued tally, according to the police chief.
Amer Station House Officer Shivnarayan said the incident took place around 7.30 pm when lightning struck a watch tower situated on the hills opposite the fort, reported The Indian Express. Shivnarayan added that most of the dead are youths.
Health Minister Raghu Sharma and MLAs Mahesh Joshi and Amin Kagzi went to SMS Hospital, where the injured were admitted, to take stock of the situation.
Eight more residents died in separate lightning incidents in the state’s Kota, Jhalawar and Dholpur districts, according to PTI. In Kota’s Garda village, Station House Officer Mukesh Tyagi said that Radhe Banjara alias Bawla (12), Pukhraj Banjara (16), Vikram (16) and his brother Akhraj (13) died after lightning struck a tree under which they were taking shelter with their cattle. Tyagi said that about 10 goats and a cow were also killed.
He said that injured children – Rahul, Vikram, Rakesh and Man Singh – and a 40-year-old-woman, Phulibai, were admitted to a hospital for treatment. They are said to be out of danger, Tyagi added.
In Jhalawar’s Lalgaon village, Tara Singh Bheel, a 23-year-old shepherd, was killed in a similar incident. The police said that two buffaloes were also killed. In Chachana village, two girls sustained injuries.
Three children – Lavkush (15), Vipin (10) and Bholu (8) – were killed after lightning struck them in Dholpur’s Kudinna village.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. He has also ordered compensation for the injured.
“The loss of lives due to lightning in Kota, Dholpur, Jhalawar, Jaipur, and Baran today is very sad and unfortunate,” Gehlot tweeted. “My deepest condolences to the families of the affected, may god give them strength. Instructions have been given to the officials to provide immediate assistance to the families of the victims.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the kin of those dead in the lightning incidents in Rajasthan from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, his office said. It added that Rs 50,000 would be given to the injured.
Meanwhile, 36 people were killed by lightning across several districts of Uttar Pradesh, reported NDTV. The highest toll of 14 was recorded in Prayagraj district.
Five deaths each were reported in Kanpur and Fatehpur districts. In Kaushambi, four people died due to lightning strike. Two deaths each were recorded in Firozabad, Unnao and Rae Bareli districts. Hardoi and Jhansi also reported one death each.
In Kaushambi, those who died have been identified as Rukma (12), Moorat Dhwaj (50), Ramchandra (32) and Mayank Singh (15), according to PTI. Superintendent of Police Radhyeshyam Vishvakarma said their bodies have been sent for postmortem.
In Firozabad, two men were standing under a tree, when they were hit by lightning, killing them on the spot. District Magistrate Chandra Vijay Singh said 60-year-old Amar Singh of Shikohabad area was among the victims.
Chief Minister Adityanath has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of those killed due to lightning. The state government has also said that financial assistance will be provided to those who lost their livestock in rain-related incidents.
In Madhya Pradesh, seven people were killed by lightning, reported India Today.
Two deaths each were reported from Sheopur and Gwalior districts. The lightning claimed one life each in Shivpuri, Anuppur and Betul districts.
Three people, including an eight-year-old boy, were killed in a village in Uttarakhand after their house collapsed due to heavy rainfall, PTI reported.
The India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall in the country’s northern region on Monday morning.