A Diwali Tragedy: BJP MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s Granddaughter Succumbs to Burn Injuries

Social Commentary

A Diwali Tragedy: BJP MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s Granddaughter Succumbs to Burn Injuries

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Even as the rest of the country celebrated Diwali, tragedy struck the home of Uttar Pradesh parliamentarian Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Joshi, who won a Lok Sabha seat from Prayagraj in the 2019 elections, lost her granddaughter after the six-year-old child suffered severe burns while playing during the festival. The girl was playing and celebrating Diwali with other children on Monday afternoon when her clothes caught fire. Despite being rushed to a private hospital, and arrangements being made for an air ambulance to transport her to a medical facility in Delhi, the child succumbed to her injuries late on Monday night, casting a shadow over the festival of lights.

The incident reportedly took place at Joshi’s ancestral home in Prayagraj’s Civil Lines neighbourhood. Her daughter-in-law and granddaughter were also visiting for the festive season. Despite several media reports stating the injuries were caused due to firecrackers, Abhishek Shukla, Joshi’s media coordinator, told reporters from Hindustan Times that the source of the burns were the diyas that the children were playing with. “The child was playing with Diwali’s earthen lamps on the roof with other children in the afternoon when somehow her clothes caught fire. By the time, the elders could rush and douse the flames; she had sustained 60 per cent burns,” he said in the report.

That such an unspeakable tragedy should take place on a festive occasion is a bleak thought, but also a reminder of how unpredictable life can be. Condolence messages for Rita Bahuguna Joshi have poured in from the public on social media as well as her peers in the UP state government. The family themselves have requested privacy, and not divulged any further details, completely understandable in light of what they have just gone through.

Though festivals like Diwali bring with them cause for celebration, terrible mishaps like this one serve as a warning to never take safety for granted.