The Uttarakhand government may have declared that all those who could not be traced even three months after the devastating floods would be presumed dead. But the family of veteran journalist M.G. Sitharam, which lost 13 people in the floods, is not yet ready to give up hope entirely.

While the family members have decided to no longer search for them, they are in no hurry to perform their last rites. “We have decided not to complete the shradha for the next one year,” said a grief-stricken Narasimha Murthy of Koppa village in Maddur taluk, a relative of Mr. Sitharam.

A group of 18 members of three generations from Mr. Sitharam’s family, including eight from Bangalore, two from Mysore and three from Maddur, were on a pilgrimage to Uttarakhand and went missing near Gaurikund following flash floods and landslips on June 16. While the rescue team airlifted Mr. Sitharam and four others — Navya, Ravichandra, Ananth and Krithi — on the same day, 13 could not be traced.

Though the rescue operations were in place, the family members visited Uttarakhand and took up private searches for the missing. They had also met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna seeking help. The family members had taken the help of local guides who knew the area very well to trace the missing persons besides displaying their names, photos and contact numbers at different places, Mr. Murthy explained.

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