Nepal remembers quake victims at the end of religious mourning period

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: May 08, 2015 01:48 IST

Families and relatives of thousands of Nepal's earthquake victims prayed and conducted Hindu after-death rituals on Thursday marking the end of the 13-day mourning period.

Nearly 80% of Nepal's population are Hindus and most the over 7,600 dead belonged to that faith. Families can resume their routine lives once the mourning period is over.

"Family members of those who passed away on the day of the quake on April 25 conducted 'kriya-karma' (religious rites) to mark the end of the mourning period," said Govinda Tandon, member secretary of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).

In Kathmandu, many victims were cremated at the cremation ground of Pashupati Temple located on banks of the holy Bagmati. Last rites of over 660 bodies were performed at the temple's 'arya-ghat'.

Nepal wrapped up a 13-day period of mourning on May 7, 2015, for victims of an earthquake that killed more than 7,800 people. (AFP PHOTO)

Family members of the deceased stay in small dwellings near the cremation ground and conduct religious rituals till the mourning period is over.

"On the 13th day they pray for the freedom and peace to the departed's soul, offer donations to priests and share meals with family members and relatives," he said.

Hundreds gathered at Kathmandu's Basantapur Darbar Square, where many world heritage structures were destroyed by the quake, to offer condolences and prayers to those dead. Candlelight prayers were also held in the evening at other places.

Obituaries with photos of the victims placed by friends, families, colleagues, classmates to mark the 'punya-tithi' (auspicious day) covered several pages of Nepal's prominent vernacular dailies.

Nepalese people stand for a minute's silence for victims of last week's earthquake, in front of the destroyed landmark Dharahara tower monument in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thursday, May 7, 2015. (AP/PTI)

One among them was of 58-year-old Chakra Bahadur Thakuri, a Nepali Congress leader and member of Nepal's first constituent assembly. On Thursday, Nepal's parliament paid condolences to the former lawmaker and others who died in the quake.

Besides those dead, over 16,000 sustained injuries in the quake. Among the 410 missing till date, 106 are foreigners. Most dead bodies have been handed over to relatives. But 31 of them including 4 foreigners still lie unclaimed at Kathmandu's Teaching Hospital.

In another development, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu issued a release terming as baseless news reports about Indian Air Force aircrafts carrying relief material without coordinating with Nepali authorities.

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