Man performs shanti puja on Vikhroli Eastern Express Highway with kin of accident victims

Yogesh Shah lost his son in a car accident near Godrej Gate on the Eastern Express Highway in March; he got in touch with others who had lost someone at the spot and conducted a ‘shanti puja’ there

A computer engineer, still grieving from his son’s death, has hit upon a unique way of preventing further accidents at the spot that claimed the life of his loved one. There have been 53 accidents at the same spot — resulting in 47 injuries and six deaths since January 2015.

Relatives perform shanti puja on Vikhroli Eastern Express Highway, near Godrej Gate, where Shah’s son Zeel had an accident in March. Pic/Sameer Markande
Relatives perform shanti puja on Vikhroli Eastern Express Highway, near Godrej Gate, where Shah’s son Zeel had an accident in March. Pic/Sameer Markande

“Everybody who came to visit my son at the hospital had a different story to tell about the spot. That made me go deep into the matter and find out the authenticity of the events. When I managed to avail the data from traffic department, I realised that the accidents were taking place at the same spot and it was a worrisome factor,” said Shah.

After his son’s death, Shah took out time to contact the family members of those who had met with a similar fate at the same spot. Around 100 relatives had gathered at the highway for the religious ceremony.

The incident
Shah’s 20-year-old son Zeel was involved in an accident in the wee hours of March 22 while he was on his way to Siddhivinayak temple, Prabhadevi. Zeel, a first year robotics engineering student at N M College, Shirpur, had come home for two days during Gudi Padwa, and was on his way to the temple along with his friends.

Zeel had tried to avoid running over a dog, and lost control of the vehicle. On May 1, Zeel succumbed to the severe head injuries after being in coma for several days. “I am a computer engineer by profession and my wife is a doctor. While we are religious people, we don’t believe in superstitions.

When people told me the stories, I thought there needs to an event that will spread awareness about the importance of taking care at the spot. I created a WhatsApp message and asked Zeel’s friend to circulate it to as many people as possible. I personally contacted some others,” said Shah.

The pooja was overseen by a pandit, an advocate by profession. He decided to take part after receiving a WhatsApp message from Shah. The congregation prayed for the safety of travellers who use the road.

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