Jawans put politicians to shame



When will our politicians learn to behave? At a time when stranded pilgrims and their families are praying for help, politicians are engaged in a battle of one-upmanship.

At a time when humankind is crying for compassion, politicians are locking horns over how and who will rebuild the Kedarnath shrine.

I am referring to the promptness with which chief minister Vijay Bahuguna had announced his government’s decision on rebuilding the Kedarnath shrine the day Narendra Modi had reached Dehradun.

Why this Modi phobia? Kedarnath shrine and Hemkunt Sahib are located in Uttrakhand but belong to the nation. Bahuguna should show the magnanimity of inviting all with their wherewithal and assisting in rebuilding the two world renowned shrines.

He must have heard about ‘kar seva’. Why this ‘mandir ham hi banayenge’!

Still worse, at a time when tears have not dried up, politicians are seeking publicity by flagging off trucks of relief materials.

I am referring to the Congress leadership here.

I must mention the service that the Sikh community is silently rendering throughout the 300km long dilapidated stretch from Dehradun to Joshimath. They have not only organised the langars but they also ensure no pilgrim goes without a meal.

It appears whatever the politicians do, they do for publicity or let’s say votes.

And then there are our jawans, the ITBP soldiers quietly engaged in the rescue operations. I will quote a lady I met at Deoprayag on my way to Srinagar, “Once the jawans held our hand, we knew they will not let us fall.”

I must appreciate Lt General Anil Chait, GoC-in-C, central command who though on a transfer to Integrated Defence Staff at Delhi where he will take charge on July 1 next, put all his heart and might in commanding the rescue operations.

His one statement, “We will not let anyone die now,” gave stranded pilgrims the confidence which politicians, by their daily aerial surveys could not.

I will not spare my peers who without knowing the terrain went on to criticise one and all for delayed relief operations.

They too were locking horns about who gave the breaking news first or who had the best exclusive.

How can one try to score brownie points over a tragedy of this magnitude and that when thousands are still buried under debris, dead and now rotting.

Of late the media has been appreciated for its activism but this time I heard some criticism too.

Finally, the casualties. I am aghast at the manner in which the state government played with numbers, not doing any homework before reeling them out, first in hundreds and later in thousands.

Someone said, “Jor ka jathka dheere se.”

As far as I know and I have been told by people working at Kedarnath valley, not less than a workforce of 30,000 from Nepal, from hills and plains of UP and Uttarakhand descend there during the season, apart from a daily flow of about ten thousand pilgrims.

Do you think the victims would have been in hundreds?

The government should not have indulged in a guessing game.

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