Relatives of missing refuse to let go,cling to hope

Relatives of missing refuse to let go,cling to hope

Harvinder Singh,a resident of Vadala village near Majitha in Amritsar is not ready to give up

Harvinder Singh,a resident of Vadala village near Majitha in Amritsar is not ready to give up. His brother,40-year old Baljinder Singh and his family,had gone missing from Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on June 16. A month later,there is still no news from them.

For Harvinder,his brother is alive and will be back soon. “We will hear the good news and will call you to say that they have all come back,” he said not ready to accept that the chances of any survivors of the Uttarakhand floods surfacing is now remote.

Baljinder,his wife Manjit (32) and two children — Sonu (8) and Prabhu Jyoti (6) — had gone to Hemkund Sahib. On the way,they decided to go to Kedarnath and that is where Baljinder spoke to his brother for the last time. “I tried calling up a hundred times. Then went looking for them. I have met the Punjab chief minister also. I am not giving up,” said Harvinder.

Baljinder and his family are among the 45 people missing from Punjab in the Uttarakhand floods. Even after a month of the tragedy,their relatives are yet to come to terms with reality.


Akhilesh Moriya,a loco-navigator in Bathinda,whose nephew Amit (27) went missing in Kedarnath over a month ago,claimed Amit would be home any time. “I don’t want any compensation. I want to see my nephew. Amit,who works in Gurgaon,left for Kedarnath on June 14 with his friend Gyani Umseh. The last we spoke to Amit was on June 16 morning at Gaurikund. His friend is a PhD student from JNU and he spoke to his relatives the same evening. After that we could not contact them,” said Akhilesh.

Rajinder Singh Brar,a journalist working in Barnala,is looking for his friends Mukesh Garg,Rajesh Jindal and Pawan Goyal who went missing on the morning of the floods at the Kedarnath temple. All three had travelled to Kedarnath with their wives,leaving their children behind.

“I was also supposed to go with them but I decided to stay back since my children were out of station,” said Brar. Their driver,Gora,returned a week after the floods. He was waiting for his passengers 14 km downhill from Kedarnath when it was stuck by floods.

Brar went looking for the three couples but returned without any news after 10 days. “We looked for them everywhere. Contacted everyone we could. But there is no news. We are sill hopeful that we might hear from them,” said Brar.

Sandeep Kumar,a resident of Ajowal village in Hoshiarpur,is waiting for his younger brother Amandeep to return from Kedarnath. “Amandeep and his four friends went to the temple. Three have returned but are injured. They are in a state of shock and don’t recall anything,” he said.

Sandeep is sure Amandeep is well. “There are thousands of pilgrims who ran into the forests and have lost their way. The Uttarakhand government has not sent any teams inside these forests to look for them. Television channels are sending their teams and finding people. Even today,many considered missing have been found. Amandeep is safe and will be back soon with his friend,” said Sandeep,who runs a travel agency.