Nepali village mourns Uttarakhand bus mishap

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Kathmandu, Aug 2 (UNI) A pall of gloom has descended over Panauti bazar and Kapalkot village, 30 km from here, following the death of Nepali pilgrims in an accident in Uttarakhand, India.

Local newspapers today published photos of mourning families, as most of the people killed in the ill-fated bus that plunged into Alakananda river yesterday, were from this small village. At least 34 people were killed in the accident.

Tek Kumari Subedi, 82, a resident of Panauti-8, was in deep shock after hearing the news of the death of her only son Puskar, 61, and daughter-in-law Rama, who had gone on a pilgrimage to India 20 days ago.

Seventeen people from the Panauti area alone died in the accident. A large number of neighbours and relatives had gathered to console the families of those killed.

Eight members of two Subedi families of Kapalkot, four members of Karki family, two people from Panauti-5 and six people of Panauti-6 were in the ill-fated bus. Most of them were couples and elderly, locals said.

''At least 23 bodies have been recovered so far and 11 are missing and it is feared that they were also killed in the accident,'' local newspaper quoted the first secretary at the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi Dhan Bahadur Oli as saying. There were 39 passengers in the bus. Five of the injured were being treated in local hospital.

Meanwhile, four pilgrims from Makwanpur have been confirmed dead in the accident. Sita Neupane (73), her son Ananta Narayan (46), Bharat Subedi (62) and his wife Bhagawati (55) were killed in the accident.

The bodies of the deceased will be airlifted to Nepal today, officials at the nepales embassy in New Delhi said.

Over 100 Nepalese pilgrims had left in three buses for various pilgrimages of India three weeks ago and they were scheduled to return next week.

Hira Bahadur Thapa, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a team comprising of Senior Superintendent of Police Pushkar Regmi, Police Inspector Sher Bahadur Chand and Consulate Officer at Nepali Embassy in India Jaya Bahadur Rai has left New Delhi for Banbasa to identify the bodies.

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