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Friday, 28 June 2013

Uttarakhand - Soldiers work tirelessly despite losing their own homes

Many brave soldiers who are involved in the rescue operations in Badrinath and Kedarnath in Uttarakhand have themselves lost all their life savings and homes to the calamity. As they stand by the people in this hour of need, their own families have been left in the lurch.

In Uttrakhand's hour of need, these men stood strong working tirelessly and selflessly to save lives despite their own personal losses.

A broken road in Chandrapuri leads to what was once rifleman Narendra Singh's home. He has just returned from Harsil where his unit 5 Gharwal is involved in rescue operations. In the highest traditions of the Army, this soldier chose to stay with his unit and save lives in Badrinath and Kedarnath, not knowing whether his own family had survived the Himalayan tsunami.

"When I got home I didn't know if my family had survived or not. Then my neighbours told me that they escaped. Where my house was, there's now only rubble. It doesn't look like my home ever existed there. At least my family is safe and well, I am happy about that," Narendra Singh said.

Narendra Singh's is one of the 400 homes that have been washed away in Chandrapuri. No relief has reached there except some sacks of grain delivered by the Air Force on the insistence of havaldar Prem Singh of the Gharwal scouts. "There was no food or supplies, nothing left here. People were homeless. So I went to the Commandant and requested help. I brought rations to the village, and now more stocks in a helicopter," Prem Singh said.

Havaldar Prem Singh's unit is involved in rescue operations in Badrinath. He took a day's leave to see if his family was okay. His home, he has been told, is under the rubble. His brother Havaldar Jeet Singh of 9 Gharwal was on leave in Chandrapuri when the disaster struck. He could only save his children and his service I-card.

"I saved my ID card, that is the Indian government's property after all. Money from my 20 years of service were in my home that got destroyed. It's gone now, what can be done," Jeet Singh said.


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