At least two Indian pilgrims on Kailash Mansarovar yatra died while over 1,500 others are stranded in mountainous regions of Nepal owing to the inclement weather. N view of it, India has sought Kathmandu’s help in evacuating them.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a series of tweet that about 525 pilgrims are stranded in Simikot, 550 in Hilsa and another 500 are stuck in the Tibet side. She said India has requested the Nepal Government for army helicopters to evacuate them.
“So far 104 pilgrims have been rescued from the site. Seven commercial flights have so far been operated for the rescue works,” an Indian Embassy official told PTI.
Over 100 Indian pilgrims have been evacuated from Nepal’s Simikot region, officials said, adding rescue work is in full swing to bring back all stranded pilgrims enroute Kailash Mansarovar in China’s Tibetan region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in touch with the External Affairs Ministry and other officials concerned and has issued instructions to extend all possible assistance to the stranded Indians, PMO officials said.
The evacuated pilgrims have been taken to Nepalganj, bordering India, the officials added.
Meanwhile, Nepal Police said two Indian pilgrims - Narayanam Leela, 56, hailing from Kerala and Satya Laxmi of Andra Pradesh - died.
Leela died suddenly at his hotel as he returned after visiting Mansarovar, while Laxmi died in Taklakot, Rabin Shrestha, a senior police official in Humla district was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.
Swaraj said India has set up hotlines for pilgrims and their family members who will be provided information in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages.
“Indian Embassy in Nepal has deployed representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot. They are in touch with the pilgrims and ensuring that food and lodging facilities are available to all the pilgrims,” she said.
In Simikot, a health check-up has been carried out on all the elderly pilgrims and they are being provided required medical help, she added.
“In Hilsa, we have requested police authorities for necessary assistance,” Swaraj said.
The Indian Embassy in Nepal has asked all tour operators to hold pilgrims back in Tibet side as far as possible since the medical and civic facilities on Nepal side are inadequate.
The mission, in a statement, said it was looking at various alternatives to evacuate the stranded people from Simikot, including through separate routes.
The mission is also looking at various alternatives to evacuate the stranded people from Simikot, including through alternative routes via Simikot-Surkhet, Simikot-Jumla and Simikot-Mugu.
Every year, the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibetan region of China is taken by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains alike.
(With inputs from agencies)