Mourning rites without bodies

SANKHUWASABHA: After prospects of finding their bodies vanished, family members of seven missing persons have begun after-death rituals from today. Altogether eight local residents of Sikding of Tamku VDC-9 have gone missing following a landslide in their settlement some three weeks ago.

Five villagers lost their lives when the disaster befell them on July 27.

Kattuser Rai, a local, said they started the mourning ceremony after they were told by police that the missing members might not be found. He has lost three members of his family -- son, daughter-in-law and a grandson. His one grandson and a granddaughter were found dead.

Likewise, Laxmi Prasad Rai's four children -- two daughters Jasamani and Menuka; and two sons Puspalal and Dhanalal -- are still missing. Similarly, Sikding resident Panchabir Rai has lost his wife Laxmi and an infant child.

The police and Nepali Army personnel had dropped the rescue operation after week of the disaster as frequent landslides were still continuing and chances grew slim for rescuing them.

"We started the funeral rite of our relatives as per our religion after the police suggested us to do so," a local Nanda Kumar Rai said.

Altogether 225 members of 40 households in Tamku VDC-9 have been displaced. They are now taking shelters in tents in the nearby Majhakharka village.

Meanwhile, body of a child was found in landslide site today. According to DSP Poshraj Pokharel, body of 6-year-old Harkaraj Rai was found at the bank of Sankhuwakhola River in Bala VDC-8, two km south from the village.