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No wrists for rakhis in tragedy-hit Bihar villages
Wednesday August 21, 2013 6:35 PM, IANS

It was a sad Raksha Bandhan Wednesday for many girls and women in Bihar's Saran and Khagaria districts, as they have lost their brothers in two tragedies.

While 23 schoolchildren died July 16 after eating contaminated midday meal in a primary school in Dharmasati Gandaman village in Saran district, 28 people were killed by a speeding train Aug 19 at Dhamara Ghat station in Khagaria district.

Sisters Nisha and Kajal Kumari in Dharmasati Gandaman village did not celebrate the festival that involves a sister tying a rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother's wrist for his well-being and he vowing to protect her.

"I lost my brother in the midday meal tragedy. There is no question of Raksha Bandhan, as I don't have a brother to tie the rakhi," bemoaned Nisha.

Kajal said that it was not only her family but the entire village did not have any festivity. "How can I take part in a festival associated with brothers when I have lost him?" she asked.

Nisha's mother Pano Devi said her daughter was not alone in staying away from the celebrations.

"Most girls, including those who lost their brothers in the midday meal tragedy in the village, decided not to participate," said Pano Devi, who lost two of her sons.

Kajal's grandfather Rameshwar Mahto said it was a dark Raksha Bandhan. "No one enjoyed the festival," Mahto, who lost three grandchildren, lamented.

Nisha, Kajal and other bereaved girls prayed for their near ones.

Similarly, Sulekha Kumari was heart-broken, as she lost her two brothers in Monday's train tragedy.

"I lit the pyre of my brothers - Prem Raj, 2, and Ram Raj, 10. I am left with no brother. How can I be happy?" asked Sulekha of Dhariyavas village in Khagaria district.

She said she would never celebrate Raksha Bandhan in her life as God snatched away her brothers.

Four daughters of Kishore Singh, a resident of Farre village in the same district, who lost his only son Babloo in the train tragedy, stayed away from any merry-making.

The mood was more or less the same in the houses of Rajo Yadav and Babu Lal Yadav. Both lost their only sons in the train tragedy.

"My daughters have lost everything, they will never get a chance to tie rakhi on their brother's wrist," wailed Rajo Yadav.

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