DEHRADUN: Four human skeletons were found on Sunday by teams which were dispatched last week to conduct a joint search operation along the mountainous terrains around Kedarnath shrine.
Navneet Singh Bhullar, superintendent of police, Rudraprayag said, "The skeletons have been found between areas of Garud Chatti and Gau Mukhda. DNA samples have been taken by the health department experts who are with the team."
The remains believed to be of those went missing during 2013 flash floods of Kedarnath will be tested for DNA. The last rites of the remains found will be conducted in Sonprayag, said the district officials.
Till date total 703 skeletons have been found around the shrine out of which 545 were found in 2013, 63 in 2014, three in 2015, 60 in 2016, seven in 2017 and 21 in the year 2018.
The tragedy is said to have caused deaths of over 10,000 people in which 4021 are said to have gone missing.
On September 16, abiding by Uttarakhand high court's orders, state police dispatched 10 teams with six members each to Kedarnath in search of the thousands of people who went missing in 'Himalayan Tsunami' of June 2013.
Each team is led by a police sub-inspector and consisting of two police constables, two personnel from the 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 map, the GPS system.
The entire operation is also being video graphed to preserve for further reference and as an evidence of the work done.
The search routes include routes from Gaurikund to Kedarnath shrine, Gaurikund to Gounmukhda, Kedarnath to Chairbaadi, adjoining areas, Triyuginarayan to Kedarnath via Garunchatti and Gaurikund to Munkatiya, Gaurikund to Vasukitaal, , Kaalimath to Rambara via Chaimasi, high altitude areas of Rambara, Junglechatti and Kedarnath base camp and adjoining areas of Kedarnath temple.
Ajay Gautam, a resident of Delhi who had filed public interest litigation stating that people are still missing even after 7 years of the tragedy commenting on the issue said, "Now what I have been saying for years have been proved right. Atleast this will provide closure to the family members of the missing people. Again, I am thankful to the honourable court for considering the matter seriously."
Last month, Uttarakhand high court while disposing off his PIL regarding the search of 3322 missing person/bodies in 2013 Kedarnath tragedy had directed the state government to give an undertaking in the court about steps taken in regard with search teams, control 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 headed by inspector general from State Disaster Response Force comprising 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 total 908 persons who gave DNA samples for matching with missing persons/dead bodies, only 33 sample matched and 875 persons are still in search of their relatives added the petition.
The petition had also stated that the time has come to “wake up the Governments from their deep slumbers and take appropriate steps with regard to search for 3322 missing persons/ dead bodies (approximately)” and frame the rules to regulate of the Chaar Dhaam Yatra and other religious places of Uttrakhand with regard to safety and security of pilgrims/tourists.
Several such search operations for the missing people have been conducted by the police in the last seven years leading to the recovery of remains of people. Later, DNA tests reveled that those people had gone missing in 2013 deluge.