The Navratri celebrations of 2023 turned unfortunate for many in Gujarat due to several heart attack incidents reported during the Garba dance. The Gujarat government has decided to ban the dance at commercial events, but it will be allowed in housing societies. Garba is a traditional Gujarati dance and one of the main highlights of the Navratri festival.
Over the past week, while participating in the garba dance event of Navratri, six individuals, including a woman and a Class 12 student, suffered fatal heart attacks. During this period, 22 others also lost their lives to heart attacks. Among the victims was Veer Shah, a Class 12 student, who collapsed from a heart attack while taking part in garba. Likewise, others, including Ravi Panchal, Shankar Rana, Mrunal Shukla, Raju Aala, and Kanchan Saxena, suffered fatal heart attacks during garba events across different districts.
The seriousness of this situation is further highlighted by the significant number of emergency calls received by the 108 ambulance services between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., which corresponds with the timing of garba. Additionally, it was reported that during the first six days of Navratri, the 108 emergency ambulance services received 609 calls for breathlessness and 521 calls for heart-related issues.
"The shocking rise in deaths due to heart attacks during the Garba celebrations has prompted the state government to issue an alert to government hospitals and community health centers (CHCs). The government has asked these hospitals and health centers to be on high alert, especially those near the Garba venues. The government has made it mandatory for the garba organizers to create corridors for ambulances so that participants can get aid immediately in cases of emergencies. Organizers have also been asked to station doctors and ambulances at the celebration venues, provide CPR training to their staff, and ensure adequate availability of water.
Gujarat's Health Minister, Rushikesh Patel, organized a meeting with top heart specialists and physicians from the U.N. Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre to discuss the situation and initiate research to identify the root causes of these heart attacks.
(Input from various media sources)