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Five Indian quake survivors return from PoK

Source: PTI
October 14, 2005 00:35 IST
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Five Indians who went to Pakistan occupied Kashmir capital Muzzafarabad on October 6, two days before the monster quake struck the sub-continent killing thousands, Thursday returned home through Wagah border. Recounting the devastation caused by the temblor, the five, all Sikhs, said Muzaffarabad looked like a ghost town with mounds of debris of razed houses littering roads and streets.

"We have never witnessed such a horrific scene in our life," they told reporters in Amritsar. The quake has flattened most of the houses and reduced villages to rubble, they said.

"There were a total of eight Indians who had gone to the PoK capital by the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus on October 6 to visit their relatives," they said. One of them, Basti Ram Tandon, perished in the quake and his body was still lying in the rubble, they said adding another Indian, Jagdish Ram Tandon, was wounded. "It has been decided by Basti Ram's Pakistan-based relatives that they will perform his last rites in Pakistan itself since the body is badly mutilated," they said. The five Sikhs who returned home are Kirpal Singh Bhandari, Jameet Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Sarmukh Singh and Avtar Singh.

Hundreds of bodiesĀ are still buried under the debris and people rendered homeless were spending the night in the open in freezing conditions in the ravaged PoK capital, they said. "Even two square meals are not available to the victims. There is a shortage of tents, blankets and life saving drugs," they said. The five Indian survivors said after the quake, they were lifted from Muzzafarabad by Pakistani Air Force jets to Chaklala from where they reached Islamabad. "Yesterday, we were issued Special Emergency Travel Certificates by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to facilitate our return to India through Wagah," they said.

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