400 Nepalis stranded in Uttarakhand

Kathmandu, June 20 (IANS) At least 400 Nepalis, on pilgrimage to the Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines, are stranded in the Indian state of Uttarakhand due to torrential rains and landslides, Nepal’s leading English daily the Kathmandu Post reported Thursday.

Quoting Padam Prasad Subedi, who is based in the state’s Haridwar town, the newspaper said there has been no contact with the Nepali pilgrims. “Those who were in contact with me till Thursday are now out of contact,” Subedi said, according to the Post.

“As two bridges between Rudraprayag and Kedarnath have been damaged, some pilgrims have been stranded in the nearby forest,” Subedi added.

In a statement issued here Thursday, chairman of Unified Communist Party (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ urged the Nepal government to initiate talks with Indian government to launch a rescue mission for the stranded Nepalis.

Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines in the north Indian state are revered by the Hindus in Nepal. As per the latest census report released in 2012, there are 26 million Hindus in Nepal, or more than 80 percent of the total population of the country.

Thousands of pigrims and tourists remain stranded, while more than a hundred have been killed in landslides set off by incessant rains in Uttarakhand, according to media reports. The power supply and communications have also been severely affected in the state.

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