Six ITBP jawans recount devastation in Kedarnath

Last Updated: Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 20:33

Gauchar: Six ITBP jawans, who too were trapped in and around the Kedarnath temple, have returned to their base at eighth battalion here in "bruised and battered" condition with only remorse that they could not save more people.

The jawans, three of whom are in hospital, returned to their base camp last night, top ITBP officer said, adding that one of them had a broken arm.

They were deployed to help pilgrims in the area and returned "bruised and battered" after witnessing the traumatic dance of death.

"They were left shell shocked. When they came to us they were bruised and battered. Their soldier instincts reacted seeing this tragedy but they were taken over by the enormity of the occasion," Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) DIG Amit Prasad said shortly after he met these boys.
Five constables and a sub-inspector, who went untraceable for over 24-hours, have been taken off active duty and are being counselled by the force now.

"They are fine but surely in trauma. They did whatever they could. We gave them shave and new clothes and talked to each one them to know what had happened in Kedarnath," said Prasad, who is supervising the forces operations across Uttarakhand with a team of about 1,000 personnel.

We just asked them to relax, the DIG said, adding they remorsefully described how the temple town was devastated and number of people died.

"The remorse in them was that they couldn`t save the people who died. A soldier is trained to save but this was unfortunately helpless for them," he said.

The ITBP had to dismiss reports for almost two days after it was rumoured that three troops have perished in the operations in the rain ravaged state.
"We never wanted to tell ourselves that anything untoward has happened to our boys. We are very happy that they are all safe," Prasad said.

The officer said that the Kedarnath area should be "all clear" of stranded people by Monday evening.

"If all goes well, which means having good weather, we will be able to close Kedarnath valley by tomorrow late evening," he said.

Prasad said he is getting reports from the ground that people who are being rescued are "traumatised".

The ITBP has rescued close to 6,000 people till now and are helping Army, NDRF and Indian Air Force (IAF) to launch coordinated operations.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 20:33

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