During the past week in Gujarat, six individuals, among them a woman and a Class 12 student, tragically succumbed to heart attacks while participating in ‘garba’ dance, a traditional part of the Navratri celebrations. The information comes from reports by their relatives and the statewide 108 ambulance service.
In addition to these six fatalities associated with the garba events, there were also 22 other individuals who suffered heart attacks and passed away in the state during the same period.
The Navratri festival, spanning nine days, commenced on October 15. Gujarat’s Health Minister, Rushikesh Patel, convened a meeting with leading cardiologists and physicians from the U N Mehta Institute of Cardiology & Research Centre on Monday. He instructed them to compile pertinent data and conduct research aimed at uncovering the precise causes behind these tragic deaths.
Significantly, Anandiben Patel, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh and former Chief Minister of Gujarat, voiced her concerns about this issue and urged the Health Minister to initiate a study to identify the reasons behind the increasing occurrence of heart attacks in the state. She highlighted the fact that many young individuals had experienced heart attacks and perished while participating in garba during Navratri. She called for a thorough analysis of these incidents and requested a study on the number of heart attack-related deaths in the past year. She also dismissed the idea that these deaths were linked to COVID-19, citing research conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Among the six individuals who lost their lives to heart attacks while engaging in garba was Veer Shah, a Class 12 student from Kapadvanj town in Kheda district. According to his family, Veer collapsed from a heart attack while participating in garba on a communal ground on Friday night. Despite being rushed to a hospital, he could not be saved.
Records from the ‘108’ ambulance service indicate that Ravi Panchal, a 28-year-old, experienced sudden cardiac arrest and passed away while dancing to garba tunes at a party venue in the Hathijan area on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in the early hours of Saturday. In Vadodara, a 55-year-old man named Shankar Rana was referred to a hospital on Friday night after collapsing at a garba event in the Harni area. Tragically, he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Mrunal Shukla (31) from Navsari district and Raju Aala (46) from Porbandar district suffered similar fates on Friday and Saturday, respectively. In Rajkot, a 47-year-old married woman named Kanchan Saxena felt unwell and collapsed after participating in garba on Friday night. Despite being referred to a hospital, she could not be revived.
In addition to these deaths linked to garba, 22 individuals, including two women, lost their lives to heart attacks in various parts of Gujarat over the past week.
Data from the ‘108’ ambulance service indicates that they received nearly 750 calls related to cardiac emergencies between October 15 and 22. These calls were primarily received from 6 pm to 2 am. While 673 calls were received during Navratri, averaging about 84 calls per day, it’s worth noting that this number is slightly lower than the 88 calls received during regular days.
Prior to the start of Navratri festivities, the State Health and Family Welfare Department issued a notification making it mandatory for garba event organizers to have an ambulance and medical team present at the venue to provide immediate assistance to participants.