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Missing pilgrims’ kin hope against hope

Amritsar : Family members of eight Hemkund Sahib pilgrims, who went missing on their way back from the shrine in Uttarakhand, are reluctant to accept that they got perished in the strong current of Alaknanda river. Members of Mehta Taxi Union, who had gone to trace the missing pilgrims, believe otherwise. Members of the union returned from Uttarakhand last night after overseeing search operation jointly conducted by the ITBP, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the Uttarakhand Police.Three members of Sahib Singh’s family, including Kirpal, 52, his nephews Jasbir Singh, 28 and Kulbir Singh, 17, are missing. He said no convincing evidence of his relatives having been killed in an accident was found, adding that they would not consider them dead till the Uttarakhand police confirm it. Another relative Kirpal Singh, who accompanied the search team, said they would soon travel to Chamoli again. Taxi union member Jasbir Singh said he saw the footage of CCTV cameras at police posts and bank branches. He added that he did not spot the Innova (PB- 06AB 5472) at Joshimath between 12 noon and 4 pm on July 6.

He said two roadside lights were found smashed and marks of tyres skidding were found at least six km off Gobind Ghat. He added that the vehicle could have fallen hundreds of feet down into Alaknanda river and swept away in its strong current. He said they found the identity card of driver Mehnga Singh at Rishikesh, about 250 km from the possible accident spot.

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