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Kedarnath cremation delayed as turf war erupts

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 16:20

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The mass cremation of Uttarakhand flash floods victims is likely to be delayed with central forces refusing to assist the state government in performing the same.

Reports said the state government had asked the central forces involved in rescue operations to assist in carrying out the last rites, especially at now-inaccessible-by-road Kedarnath and Gaurigaon, where over 800 bodies are stacked.

With connectivity still being an issue in the Kedarnath axis, the state administration had asked the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to assist in the cremation of bodies of victims.

The ITBP has rejected the request, saying it was not part of their mandate to dispose of the bodies.

The issue also came up for discussion at Tuesday’s National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meeting presided over by the Cabinet Secretary, a leading daily reported on Wednesday.

"They have been asking us to cremate the dead also. We have refused and have asked them to get home guards and sanitation staff for the mass cremation. Our boys are not going to cremate the dead," an unnamed ITBP official was quoted as saying.

Another official said their mandate was to rescue the stranded people, not cremating the dead. The local administration should do it, the official added.

Meanwhile, former union home secretary VK Duggal, who is the nodal officer supervising the rescue operations from the Centre’s side, is reported to have given a standard operating procedure to the state government on the disposal of the bodies.

First Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 15:20

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