Sanjay Jat, a resident of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, encountered the worst face of human greed amid stories of gallantry and heroism in Uttarakhand.
Sanjay and his family besides hundreds of survivors had taken shelter in village Gauri on the outskirts of Kedarnath, when the torrential rains and floods struck the holy town.
And when rescue teams started arriving in the village and evacuating the stranded people, Sanjay’s three-year-old nephew Om Jat went missing in the commotion.
"We were supposed to leave the village the next morning, but when we did not find Om, we had to extend our stay and offer a reward to the local residents for locating Om," Sajay said.
"Immediately after we starting making inquiries and offering money, a man came to us with Om and demanded Rs 5,000. We offered him Rs 500 because we did not have sufficient money with us. But the man was adamant and refused to let go of the boy," he said.
The boy was finally handed over to the family after they paid the man Rs 1,500. Sanjay said he saw some local residents pulling out notes from the floating donation boxes of temples rather than helping drowning people.
"We know that a lot of local residents helped pilgrims stranded at various places, but a few rotten eggs sullied the image of the entire state," Jat said.