Vaishno Devi stampede: ‘He was 1st doctor in our family; married just 30 days ago’

Among the pilgrims who died in a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday was a 30-year-old ayurveda doctor from Gorakhpur who got married only 30 days ago.

Arun Pratap Singh, who completed Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) degree from a college in Khurja in Bulandshahr, was running a hospital in Gorakhpur.

On December 29, Arun along with his wife Archana Singh, also a doctor by profession, left Gorakhpur for Vaishno Devi. Arun’s friends, Ajay Kumar and Dr Anugrah Narayan Singh, along with their wives had also gone with him. Anugrah Narayan is a partner at the Gorakhpur hospital.

“The three couples rented a car and left for Jammu and Kashmir on December 29. I spoke to Arun on Thursday and he said he reached Jalandhar. Arun asked about the well-being of his mother, Tara Devi,” said Arun’s father Satya Prakash, a farmer.

Hailing from Rampur Bhurj village in Chauri Chaura area of Gorakhpur, Arun Pratap was the only son of Satya Prakash Singh and Tara Devi. His younger sister Priyanka Singh is married.

“Arun was the first doctor in our family. He was an inspiration for his relatives and local residents. Everyone in the village was proud of him. At his hospital – Hind hospital – Arun used to never charge high rates from patients,” added Satya Prakash, a former pradhan of Rampur Bhurj village.

Satya Prakash’s family is considered among those well-off the area. Satya Prakash also used to run a brick klin but shut it down due to personal reasons.

According to Satya Prakash, he came to know about the incident when the news broke on television channels. “Minutes later, the media starting showing names of the deceased, including my son’s name,” said Satya Prakash.

He called Arun’s cellphone but could not contact him. He then informed relatives, including his daughter, and requested them to verify the news.

“Officially, I got to know about the death when two government officials – lekhpal – visited my residence on Saturday morning and informed me. The government officials took my younger brother to collect the body from Lucknow where it was scheduled to reach by afternoon,” said the father, adding that Archana Singh and others, who travelled with his son, are safe. “Arun married Archana, of Kushninagar, on December 1, 2021,” added Satya Prakash.

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