Twenty pilgrims cremated in Panauti

Panauti, August 3:

Twenty pilgrims, who were among those who died when their bus plunged into the Alaknanda river in Uttarakhanda State on Thursday, were cremated in Kavre district today.

Relatives performed last rites of 13 persons from Kavre, while relatives of the seven people, who have been missing after the mishap, performed last rites in line with the Hindu tradition by consigning flames to figures made of kush.

Family members of the 12 pilgrims performed the last rites on Triveni river banks, while relatives took the body of bus driver Keshav Thami to his home in Panchkhal VDC-6 to perform the last rites.

The deceased pilgrims identified today are Kalpana Karki, Sridhar Subedi, Ram Krishna Karki, Purushottam Subedi, Rama Suberi, Bhagawati Subedi and Babu Kaji Karki of Panauti municipality-8. Durga Bahadur Basnet and Gamala Basnet of Panauti-5, Mukti Nath Manandhar and Nanimaya Manandhar of Panauti-6 and Netra Kumar Badal were also among the dead. Ganga Karki and Sabitri Subedi of Panauti municipality-8 were injured in the bus mishap.

A Nepal Army chopper brought the dead to Panauti at 11:00 am today. Thirty-nine pilgrims from Panauti, Kathmandu and Hetauda had boarded the bus. Of them, 23 died, 11 went missing, while five have sustained injuries. The injured are undergoing treatment in Base Hospital, Shrinagar, India.

Meanwhile, government offices, community schools and factories were shut today to mourn for the pilgrims from Panauti. Thousands of people thronged to Panauti after

they came to know that bodies of the pilgrims would be flown today. The Panauti municipality has pledged to provide Rs 5,000 to each bereaved family as expenses for performing the last rites.

Woe betides kin

PANAUTI: Biswo Ram Manandhar of Panauti municipality-6 found it difficult to hold onto himself when he saw the bodies of pilgrims lined up on Triveni river banks. His parents — Madhav Narayan Manandhar and Seti Maya -- had left for the pilgrimage 22 days ago. They have been missing. Three of his brothers, who were with him, remained speechless when they saw the bodies lined up for cremation. Another local Gyaninanda Subedi, whose parents — Nanda Kumar and Sita Devi -- died in the mishap, was listening to his relatives and trying to overcome the sorrow. — HNS