With the recovery of skeletal remains of 2013 Uttarakhand floods near Kedarnath, it is being predicted that the issue will become a crucial one when Uttarakhand goes to poll next year. Following the flash floods of 2013 that ravaged Kedarnath, several skeletal remains were spotted in the forests of Kedarghati. The remains are believed to be of the pilgrims who perished in the disaster.
The Opposition BJP has alleged that the Congress led-government called off the rescue operation in a hurry due to which the remains are still being recovered. Senior BJP leader Trivendra Singh Rawat said that the Indian Army’s search and rescue operation stopped in 10-12 days after it began on June 21, 2013.
Moreover, BJP State President Ajay Bhatt lashed out at Chief Minister Harish Rawat on the issue, saying even three years after the tragedy, the government has failed to find out about the human remains. He claimed that while Rawat is attending music festivals with singer Kailash Kher in Kedarnath, skeletons are being found nearby areas. He said he would highlight the alleged “insensitivity” of the government on the issue.
To which the Congress responded by saying that it wasn’t abandoned. They added that BJP should question then chief minister Vijay Bahuguna about it as he has now joined the saffron party instead of questioning his successor, Rawat.
Bahuguna was forced to resign after the Kedarnath disaster and he rebelled against Rawat this year, prompting the Centre to bring the state under President’s Rule for more than two months until the Supreme Court intervened to avert a constitutional crisis.
“More than 50 skeletons of victims of the 2013 flood have been found on both sides of the Kedarnath-Triyuginarayan road. DNA sample will be collected of these skeletons and then their cremation will be carried out,” said Garhwal Range Inspector General Sanjay Gunjyal.
The Kedarnath-Triyuginarayan trek had resumed in December last year and pilgrims trekking on this route had informed authorities about the whereabouts of the skeletons.
In June 2013, devastating floods and landslides claimed lives of over four thousand people while 100,000 pilgrims and tourists were trapped in the Hindu Chita Char Dham pilgrimage. The destruction was such that it became the country’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.