Asif Iqbal Naik
In an unfortunate development during the on-going annual Machail Yatra in Padder area of Kishtwar district, two teenaged girls are among the three pilgrims who are missing since Sunday evening when the cloudburst hit the Kundeel area – a village located about 15 KM from Gulabgard on Padder-Machail Matta track.
As per the details available with Kashmir Life, the victims namely Sunita Devi (18 years), Manisha Rani (13 years), both daughters of Mangat Ram, resident of Kuleed Chowk Kishtwar and Rajesh Sharma, son of Babu Ram Sharma, resident of Parnala Bilawar district Kathua Jammu while returning to Gulabgarh were reportedly washed away in flash floods that took place due to cloudburst in Machail Nallah.
As per the official sources, the two girls went missing soon after they went ahead in their journey leaving behind the family members who also accompanied them when the cloudburst hit the area.
After searching them for long time, the family members of the two teenaged sisters brought the matter into the notice of the police which launched a search operation in the area top trace out the missing girls but to no avail.
The police also made announcements on loudspeakers regarding the missing girls and after finding no trace of them, the police registered missing report and started its investigation.
In similar incident, the brother of the victim Rajesh Kumar Sharma informed the police that his brother was washed away in flash flood while they were on its way back to Gulabgarh after performing Darshan.
The victim’s brother too had a miraculous escape.
A senior police officer while confirming the development to Kashmir Life said that police party headed by Additional SP Kishtwar Abdul Qayoom is presently camping at Padder and the search is being carried out to trace out the missing persons.
He said that even after cloudburst, the Machail Yatra is going on smoothly and so far, more than 1.50 lakh pilgrims have paid the obeisance at the Chandi Matta temple since the beginning of the Yatra.