Twenty—three people, mostly from two Haryana villages, were today killed when a truck ferrying ’Kanwarias’ (Shiva devotees) fell into a gorge in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.

The truck, which was on its on way to Gangotri, fell into the 150—metre deep gorge killing 23 people, including the driver and the cleaner, at Dabrani on Rishikesh—Gangotri national highway about 70 kms from here, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Saurabh Jain told PTI.

21 bodies of youths have been fished out by the police and ITBP personnel and they have been sent for a post mortem, he said, adding efforts are on to extricate two more bodies from the accident site.

A pall of gloom descended on villages of Baghanki and Kherki in Haryana’s Gurgaon district, from where nearly all the youths killed belonged.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank has also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.

The Haryana Government announced an exgratia of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda expressed deep shock and grief over the deaths and said that his government was in touch with the administration of Uttarkashi to bring back the bodies.

Gurgaon district administration has sent of a team of officers led by Tehsildar Manesar KS Dhaka to assist the family members and villagers who have rushed to Uttarkashi, according to the Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria.

A group of 29 youths from the two villages had gone on the pilgrimage, district officials said, adding efforts were on to identify those missing.

Heavy rains and floods over the last two days have left six others dead and thrown life out of gear in Uttarakhand.

Several important roads were washed away in the heavy floods due to which a large number of villages were cut off. A vital stretch of Raipur-Chamba road was also washed away due to heavy floods in the river Song in Dehra Dun, where large areas have been inundated leading to loss of property after last night’s torrential rains that broke a 44—year record.

Meanwhile, two ‘Kanwarias’ from Uttar Pradesh were today killed while another was injured when a motorcycle on which they were riding collided with a bus at Jwalapur area of Haridwar district, 47 km from here.

The incident took place when the motorcycle collided head on with the bus killing Raju (20), a resident of Ghaziabad and Bablu (22), a resident of Meerut on the spot, police said.

Another person identified as Deepak was also injured in the accident and he has been admitted to a nearby hospital, they said.

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