The memory of last year’s devastating flashfloods surfaced after five skeletons were recovered from a forest near Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand. Another 12 skeletons have also been spotted in the same area and efforts are on to recover them.
The discovery has sparked off a furore prompting the Uttarakhand government to constitute a high-level task force to search for more such skeletons. Rudraprayag superintendent of police Barinder Jeet Singh told HT that a team has been deployed to recover the skeletons from Jungle Chatti, located between
Gaurikund and Rambara, on the route to Kedarnath.
The five skeletons were cremated on Friday after collecting their DNA samples and a similar process would be undertaken for the rest of the skeletons to facilitate identification, Barinder said.
The discovery has set off a political storm in the state with the opposition BJP demanding chief minister Harish Rawat’s resignation.
“The government had accused me of lying when I had claimed last year that Rudraprayag is strewn with the skeletons of those washed away by the devastating floods,” BJP leader Ajay Bhatt said. “CM Rawat should, therefore, immediately resign owning responsibility for the false claim,” Bhatt told HT even as the ruling Congress hit back accusing the BJP of “playing politics over dead bodies”.
The incident came to light on Friday when Ludhiana-based Sandeep came to Kedarnath searching for his son who had got separated from him in the chaos during last year’s flashfloods. He told the locals about the skeletons and they in turn informed the district administration.
Several pilgrims, in their attempt to survive the deluge, had rushed towards Jungle Chatti and Cheerbasa peaks when the Chaurabari Lake above Kedarnath temple burst due to incessant rains.