September 14, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar Sahib: As per the media reports two US-based Sikhs who, along with six other people, went missing during the Hemkunt Sahib pilgrimage in Uttarakhand, have approached the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), intelligence agency of the US, seeking its intervention to know the whereabouts of their loved ones.
Eight pilgrims went missing on July 6 this year while returning from the Sikh shrine. The missing pilgrims included two Sikh US citizens, Harkewal Singh and Premjit Singh. Others were Kirpal Singh, Jasbir Singh, Kulbir Singh, driver Mehnga Singh all from Chowk Mehta area in Amritsar and Harpal Singh, Varinder Singh from Dalla village in Gurdaspur, media reports said.
Premjit Singh age 60 and his son-in-law Harkewal, 38, lived in central California. Uttrakhand Police and a team from Punjab carried out search operation for many days. On July 14, the Uttarakhand government claimed that the pilgrims met with an accident.
“The authorities of the Gobind Ghat gurdwara, which is on the way to the shrine, are saying that the vehicle may have plunged into Alaknanda River. However, till today, they have not provided any satisfactory proof,” reads the statement of Manjit Kaur, wife of Harkewal Singh given to an English tabloid over a telephone from California.
“The only evidence they found was a Toyota logo of the SUV they were travelling in, two window visors, rear light and one long old rubber piece. These can be of any vehicle. Families have confirmed that the turban that the administration found from the site did not belong to any of the eight pilgrims. The turbans looked too old and all torn,” she further adds.
Furthermore, she stated that she tried to establish a contact with the authorities in Uttarakhand, Amritsar and the US embassy since July 8, but they have not been able to provide much help.
“I have urged Uttarakhand Police to provide CCTV footage of the area, but to no avail. So, I have moved to the FBI seeking its intervention,” she said.
In a message to Manjit Kaur on August 30, the US embassy reportedly said the search was still on. “But due to fast water current, the local police are only able to search the banks of the river… we will contact you immediately as soon as we hear anything new,” the message further read, reports Hindustan Times (HT).