They left for the pilgrimage from Hyderabad on June 2

The four pilgrims who left from Hyderabad for Badrinath, Uttarakhand are safe, their family members confirmed.

Bidar residents Shyamsunder Jahagirdar and his wife Radhabai left from Hyderabad on June 2. They were accompanied by Ananth and Geeta Bakshi, who hail from Gulbarga and are settled in Bangalore.

“We lost contact last Saturday,” said Hrishikesh Jahagirdar, Mr. Shyamsunder’s son.

The last word from the stranded pilgrims was an SMS from a new number, which said the pilgrims had reached Badrinath. Their mobile numbers, and the number from which the SMS was sent, were switched off.

However, they had now sent another SMS. Mr. Hrishikesh confirmed that the four pilgrims were safe and were moving towards Joshi Math. They were waiting to be airlifted, he added.

He said Naveen Raj Singh, senior IAS officer from Karnataka who is in the service of the Uttarakhand government, was helpful to the family.

Rescued

Gulbarga Special Correspondent writes:

Meanwhile, Seshacharya and Padmavathi, who were also on a pilgrimage, told their relatives over phone on Friday morning that they had been rescued by the Army, and would soon return to the city.

A group of 14 pilgrims from the city, who had gone to Kedarnath and are currently in Haridwar, said over phone that they had to walk over 4 km in the thick forest and heavy rain to reach to safety. One of the pilgrims, Vilas Jain, said: “it was fortunate that we did not stay in the lodge at Gaurikund, and preferred to climb a hill to be safe.

The lodge collapsed in front of our eyes in the raging floods, taking all the occupants with it. Mr. Jain said that thousands had lost their lives in the floods.

‘Disaster’

Yadgir Correspondent writes:

A 10-member group of lawyers from Shahpur town in Yadgir district, who had gone to Kedarnath on a pilgrimage on June 16, have safely returned to Rishikesh.

The group left for Uttarakhand on June 13 and were caught in the floods at Gaurikund on June 16.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone from Rishikesh on Friday, lawyers Honnareddy and Ibrahimsab described the situation as a “disaster of the highest order.”

“Many lodges and hotels full with pilgrims in Seetapur collapsed in front of us.”

They plan to visit Ajmer before returning home.

Meanwhile, Somashekar Hiremath, a retired teacher, also from Shahpur, has donated his one month’s pension (Rs. 10,742) to the Prime Minister’s National Disaster Relief Fund, to help those affected in Uttarakhand.

Mr. Hiremath said he felt it was his duty to come to the aid of those in distress.

The retired teacher has made similar donations in the past.

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