KATHMANDU, July 4: As many as 104 Indian pilgrims stranded on their way to Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage have been airlifted to Nepalgunj from Simikot—the headquarters of Humla district, which borders Tibet.
The Embassy of India in Kathmandu in coordination with local authorities and flight operators in Nepal airlifted them from Simikot via seven commercial flights operated from Nepalgunj on Tuesday.
Additionally, two dead bodies of Indian nationals were also airlifted via special helicopters from Simikot to Nepalgunj and Kathmandu on Tuesday.
According to Indian Embassy spokesman Roshan Lepcha, special helicopters were operated to bring the bodies of Leela Narayan Mandredath (Passport No L5486595, of Kerala) and Satya Lakshmi Narayana Subba Rao Grandhi Veera Venkata (Passport No R 9327867, of Andra Pradesh) along with five accompanying passengers to Kathmandu and Nepalgunj, respectively, on Tuesday.
Mandredath died in Simikot on Monday morning possibly due to high altitude sickness, while Venkata breathed her last due to heart attack in Tibet and was brought to Simikot on Tuesday. “All necessary assistance is being provided by the Mission for an early repatriation of the mortal remains to India,” said a statement issued by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
There are about 525 pilgrims stranded in Simikot, 550 others in Hilsa—the bordering point with Tibet, and another 500 more pilgrims are said to have been stranded on the Tibetan side of the border due to extremely harsh weather owing to incessant rainfall. “In case weather continues to improve, the Embassy is confident to evacuate all stranded pilgrims over the next three-four days,” said Lepcha.
Amid concerns of the safety of the stranded Indian pilgrims wishing to visit Mansarovar—the holy pilgrimage sites of Hindus in Tibet—due to inclement weather condition, Indian Embassy has requested Nepal Army to airlift the stranded passengers as and when weather improves. The army has kept its helicopters on the standby to fly to Simikot once weather shows improvement.
As many stranded passengers have also become ill, they are also being provided with medical assistance to ensure that ailing pilgrims get treatment on time. Earlier, the embassy sent a four-member team to Nepalgunj on Tuesday evening. The team will reach Simikot and Hilsa at the earliest to set up camp offices to facilitate the stranded pilgrims.
Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said it continues to monitor the developing situation in Simikot/Hilsa route of Kailash Manasarovar pilgrimage. “The situation continues to be under control and there is no need to panic,” it said.