Amidst widespread show of gallantry and humane gestures by the army personnel and other rescue agencies, there were some unfortunate instances of inhumanity that added to the woes of the people struck by the calamity in Uttarakhand.
A family from Jabalpur went through one such experience that has left them bitter besides being shaken by their horrifying tour to the hill state.
Sanjay Jat, uncle of threeyear-old Om Jat, spoke about the incident after reaching Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal, on board the special plane from Dehradun on Monday afternoon.
He said when the family was staying at village Gauri on the outskirts of Kedarnath after escaping the catastrophe, his nephew went missing.
“As there was too much rush in the village where we spent the night, the kid got separated from us and we could not find him. We were supposed to leave the village early the next morning but we had to stay for another day after we did not find Om,” Sanjay said.
Later, the family members contacted some local people and offered to give prize money if anyone would provide information about the boy. “Immediately afterwards, a local person came with the boy and demanded R5,000 from the parents to hand him over,” Om’s uncle told HT.
The family offered to give R500, as they did not have sufficient money with them. But the local was adamant and refused to hand over the boy. “Later, deal was finalised at R1,500 and he handed over our boy to us,” Sanjay added.
Jat also said they saw some local villagers collecting money from cash boxes of temples that was flowing in water rather than helping people who were drowning. “We know a lot of local people helped pilgrims but a few selfish people sully the image of the entire state,” Jat said.