Kedarnath tragedy: Search for remains of missing people to start in March | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Kedarnath tragedy: Search for remains of missing people to start in March

Since the Kedarnath valley is covered with snow in winter, the search will be held after March next year when the weather is conducive for the teams to access the terrain, additional director general of police, law and order, Ashok Kumar tells Hindustan Times.

dehradun Updated: Dec 23, 2017 20:46 IST
Neha Pant
Skeletal remains of some of the 2013 disaster victims found in Rudraprayag district.
Skeletal remains of some of the 2013 disaster victims found in Rudraprayag district.(HT File photo)

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand police will carry out a search operation in the Kedarnath valley after the high court ordered the government to search the remains of the people who went missing during the 2013 disaster.

Since the Kedarnath valley is covered with snow in winter, the search will be held after March next year when the weather is conducive for the teams to access the terrain, additional director general of police, law and order, Ashok Kumar told Hindustan Times.

“Right now, the Kedarnath region is full of snow. So search operation will be carried out in March or April only once the snow melts down completely,” he said, adding that the special search teams will include senior police officers and mountaineers.

The search teams on getting the remains of victims will collect and preserve DNA samples and carry out final rites.

Earlier this week, a division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh directed the state government to constitute special teams to trace the dead bodies lying scattered or buried in the Kedarnath area. After hearing a public interest litigation of Delhi resident Ajay Gautam, the high court ordered the final rites of the victims be undertaken in accordance with traditions.

“We will study the court’s order in detail and follow them closely. The teams will comprise members from the police as well as from the state disaster response force, whose experts have experience of climbing altitudes up to 7,000 metre,” Kumar said, adding a meeting was scheduled this week where details of the teams would be discussed.

Despite more than four years of the deadly flashflood, there is still no conclusive clarity on the number of people who perished during the 2013 disaster. According to an affidavit filed by the state government with the court, bodies of only 678 people could be recovered out of more than 4,000 people who were missing. Of these, 545 bodies were recovered in 2013, followed by 63 in 2014, 3 in 2015, 60 in 2016 and 7 this year).

The Uttarakhand government issued over 2,800 death certificates, while many on the hold due to unavailability of ‘missing persons’ reports that were to be lodged at native places of victims.