Even as operations to extricate and cremate bodies in the Kedarnath valley in Rudraprayag district continue, 272 bodies have been pulled out from debris and cremated, Uttarakhand Director General of Police Satyavrat Bansal told The Hindu on Saturday.
“A combined team of around 70 Police and National Disaster Response Force personnel is working in the Kedarnath valley,” Mr. Bansal said.
The police have collected DNA samples, photographs, jewellery, and other possessions from the bodies to help in their identification.
Mr. Bansal said, “In the past eight days, 132 bodies which were buried in loose debris have been pulled out and cremated.” A last attempt to find bodies within 3 km of the Kedarnath temple would be made on Sunday, he said, adding that heavy machinery would be required for the purpose.
Operations to extricate bodies from the Kedarnath Valley begun in July after stranded pilgrims and locals were rescued first.
“The bodies which are buried deep within the debris need to be extricated by machines. As far as the Police is concerned, we have done whatever we could. Further operations will be under expert opinion,” Mr. Bansal said.
The weather in the Kedarnath Valley continues to be bad which is why helicopters carrying heavy machinery to dig out the bodies from the debris are unable to fly to the Kedarnath temple area.
Mr. Bansal said a police outpost would continue to be stationed in Kedarnath even after winding up of the operations in the area on Sunday.