Uttarakhand launches search for missing people in 2013 'Himalayan tsunami'

The tragedy is said to have caused the deaths of over 10,000 people in which 4021 are said to have gone missing.

Published: 16th September 2020 11:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2020 11:40 PM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Abiding by the Uttarakhand high court's orders, the state police dispatched ten teams to Kedarnath on Wednesday in search of the thousands of people who went missing in the 'Himalayan Tsunami' of June 2013.

Ashok Kumar, director general of police (Law and Order) said, "The teams are tasked with conducting a search for 10-days in areas where remains of the missing people are expected to be found."

The tragedy is said to have caused the deaths of over 10,000 people in which 4021 are said to have gone missing.

Each team, led by a police sub-inspector, consists of two police constables, two personnel from State Disaster Response Force, and a pharmacist.

The teams have been equipped with sleeping bags, tents, and wireless sets and will search for the missing people with the help of Google Maps, the GPS system.

The entire operation will also be videographed to preserve for reference and as an evidence of the work done. 

The teams will be working in coordination with the Rudraprayag police and district administration where the revered shrine of Kedarnath is located.

The area of the search will be in and around Gaurikund in the vicinity of the temple and other areas where the convergence of the people was highest.

Ajay Gautam, a resident of Delhi who had filed a public interest litigation stating that people are still missing even after 7 years of the tragedy, said on the issue, "At least some steps are being taken by the orders of the honorable court. These people have the right for their last rites. Our system and governments should be sensitive about this."

Last month, Uttarakhand high court while disposing of his PIL regarding the search of 3322 missing persons/bodies in the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy had directed the state government to give an undertaking in the court about steps taken in regard to the search teams, control of mass tourism, and cleanliness of Ganga and other rivers.

The court had also directed to publish the findings of the committee constituted to investigate the calamity within two months of time. 

The committee comprising the Archeological Survey of India, Sadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, and other institutions was constituted last month, informed the state government in the court. 

The petition by Gautam had said that in the course of expeditions to find missing people, out of the total 908 persons who gave DNA samples for matching with the missing persons/bodies, only 33 samples had matched while 875 persons are still in search of their relatives.

The petition also the state to frame rules to regulate the Chaar Dhaam Yatra and other religious places here with regard to the safety and security of pilgrims/tourists.

In search operations conducted by the police in the last seven years, the remains of some people were recovered. Later, their DNA tests revealed that they had gone missing in the 2013 deluge. 

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